China and Mongolia will boost trade and economic ties as both countries prepare to sign a string of infrastructure and energy deals during Chinese President Xi Jinping's trip to the neighboring country scheduled on Thursday.
Landlocked Mongolia, which has been wary of over-dependence in China, had initially favored a more expensive route that passed through Russia to link its energy resources to the Pacific coast, a proposal the World Bank had deemed unrealistic.
Now, Mongolia has apparently re-considered its position and decided the better option would be to route its exports to China directly to the south.
Liu Jianchao, China's assistant minister of foreign affairs, said on Monday that Xi's trip is intended to support Mongolia's bid to export its goods via a trans-shipment route through China.
He said Beijing would work to assist the landlocked nation in this endeavor, adding that the new route would greatly enhance trade and economic cooperation to other countries.
Mongolia's mining deputy minister, Erdenebulgan Oyun, also announced plans to sign a gas supply deal with China during Xi's intended two-day visit.
The transaction would include the construction of two coal factories with China getting 95 percent of the plant's output.
Liu said both countries are expected to sign additional infrastructure and coal mining deals but did not elaborate.
The deals are also intended to expand China's influence in Asia through the promotion of the Silk Road Economic Belt which aims to further trade development in the region, according to the South China Morning Post.
Relations between the two neighbor states have been enhanced in recent months.
Last April, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao had visited Mongolia. A month later, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj traveled to China for a security conference.
More recently, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi went to Ulan Bator ahead of the President's visit to pave the way for bilateral talks.
Last October, China and Mongolia established a working group to administer the construction of a rail and pipeline infrastructure intended to connect the two nations with Russia.