Monday, August 18, 2014

Mongolia Brief August 18, 2014 Part I

Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj: I am Confident that Visit of His Excellency Mr. Xi Jinping, President of People’s Republic of China will be Successful and Make Its Contribution to Advancing Relations between Our Two Countries
August 18 (MONTSAME) President of Mongolia, Mr. Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj met Chinese journalists on 15 August 2014 and answered their questions.

The list of representatives of Chinese media who visited Mongolia on the eve of the state visit of the President of the PRC, Xi Jinping is as follows:
1.    Sun Guangyong    Deputy Head of the Second Division, News Editorial Board, International Department, Renmin Ribao
2.    Fengjian    Senior Reporter, International Department, Xinhua News Agency
3.    Xiao Wuming    Editor, CCTV
4.    Tong Lage    Deputy Director, North East Asia and Central Asia Centre, China Radio International
5.    Qiu Bo    Reporter, International Department, China Daily
6.    Ma Zhenhua    Deputy Chief of Office, Guangming Daily
7.    Qi Ping    Deputy Director, Editorial Board, Economic Daily
8.    Bai Tiantian    Reporter, Editor of domestic news, English edition of Global Times
9.    Xie Kaihua    Deputy Director, Special Topics Editorial, Reference News
10.    Fang Yuan    Third Secretary, Press and Information Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC
11. Yang Tao    Reporter, China Daily
12. Lei Hao        Reporter, CCTV
13. Wang Ning   Reporter, Xinhua Agency
President Ts.Ebegdorj: - I suppose that you are interested in the issues related to the bilateral relations, especially in the upcoming state visit of the President of PRC, Xi Jinping, which will take place this month. Therefore, I am ready to answer your questions. 
Q: Good morning, Mr President. Thank you for sparing you time to meet our media representatives. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and China. Over the past period, our bilateral relations and cooperation have been steadily and uninterruptedly developing, and today they are at the best time in their history. The cooperation between the two countries is expanding in all fields. Moreover, the growing frequency of high-level visits between the two countries serves as a solid basis for developing strategic partnership. What concrete ideas, as head of state, do you have in your mind for further development of the strategic partnership between the two countries? What concrete measures would you take? Thank you.
A: Mongolia was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, and it could be even stated that we are one of a very few of China’s neighbours that shares with it the longest history of diplomatic relations. As you have just mentioned, 65 years have passed since then. In recent years, Mongolia has been striving to broaden its strategic partnership with China in every possible way. During President Xi Jinping’s visit, the two sides are going to upgrade Mongolia-China strategic partnership to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership. By comprehensive strategic partnership, we understand relations which meet the fundamental interests of our two peoples.  The comprehensive strategic partnership would make our cooperation richer in substance. There are five prospective areas in this context.
In developing comprehensive strategic partnership, we should, first of all, increase mutual trust. Secondly, the security cooperation between the two countries will be broadened. Thirdly, substantial progress will be achieved in the issues concerning transit transportation and infrastructure. Fourthly, the contents and form of the multilateral cooperation will be enriched. Finally, mutually beneficial bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation will be brought to new levels.
I believe that certain agreements covering the above-mentioned areas will be concluded during President Xi Jinping’s visit.
Q: As of today the main pillar of the bilateral strategic partnership is trade and economic cooperation. For more than ten years in row the PRC has been Mongolia’s not only largest investor but also its main trading partner. Our two countries are developing mutually beneficial cooperation in trade and economy, while their economies have mutually complementary nature. 
In this regard, China is interested in fostering cooperation in the fields of trade and economy under the moto of “win-win cooperation”. Within this framework, the Chinese big businesses are paying serious attention to Mongolia’s investment environment and economic policies. In connection with the upcoming visit of President Xi Jinping, what is your position on increasing the level of the trade and economic cooperation and implementation of large-scale projects? How do you plan to increase the trust of Chinese investors?
A: I think that you have answered the largest part of your question yourself. The PRC is the leading trade and investment partner of Mongolia. I see that there are many ways to increase the trade and investment in the coming years. The improvement of investment environment is one of main priorities in Mongolia’s trade and economic policies. The Parliament has recently adopted certain legislations in this area. We will also continue to take measures to improve the investment environment. In investment and trade fields we will pursue the principles of equality and mutual benefit.
Q: President Xi Jinping attaches great importance to developing friendly relations with China’s neighboring countries. He has initiated four main principles in developing relations with China’s neighbouring countries which are: to be more friendly, more honest, more beneficial and more tolerant. Both Mongolia and the PRC are interested in mutually beneficial cooperation in developing the North East Asian region. Within this framework, the two countries are actively participating in the activities of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building in Asia and Shanghai Cooperation Organization. How could the two countries contribute to development of the regional cooperation?
A: President Xi Jinping has clearly defined our bilateral cooperation in the region. The bilateral relations between our two countries have become one of the most harmonic relations in the region. I agree with this conclusion. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the PRC for continuous support of Mongolia’s initiative in the North East Asian cooperation and especially in the security field.
Q: Your Excellency has met with President Xi Jinping many times and you two have become friends. What are your expectations for President Xi Jinping’s official visit to Mongolia? At the same time, what long-term perspectives do you see in our bilateral relations? 
A: Personally, I am very grateful that President Xi Jinping pays special attention to our bilateral relations. We had a bilateral meeting in Bishkek during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit last September and then last May year in Shanghai on the sidelines of an international gathering, when President Xi Jinping invited me to a breakfast-meeting, during which we exchanged views on a broad range of issues. President Xi Jinping has very friendly and positive outlook on our bilateral relations.
During his upcoming visit we are hoping to finalize and sign some of the key bilateral agreements and treaties that have been under discussion for many years. Since Mongolia is a landlocked country the issue of transit transportation is of utmost importance for us. I am happy that negotiations on two agreements, namely one on transit transportation, railway network and one on seaports have been successful, and that these agreements are at their concluding stage. I am confident that these agreements would be signed during President Xi Jinping’s visit. 
Moreover, I am confident that certain agreements covering energy production, coal, mineral resources, infrastructure, culture and humanitarian fields will be concluded during the visit. Also I hope that private sectors of the two countries will sign contracts and agreements so that they could launch concrete business projects.    
Q:  Mr. President, if I may know, how do you spend your free time?
A: I spend my free time with my family and children. 
Q:  After President Xi Jinping’s visit, the Russian President, Mr. Vladimir Putin will also be paying an official visit to Mongolia. Mongolia right now is at the centre of the world’s attention. Please comment on Mongolia’s policy on developing relations with China, Russia and the US?  
President: Mongolia has a very unique geographical location. It is the only country in the world situated between China and Russia. And that is precisely why it is stipulated in the Foreign Policy Concept of Mongolia that “developing friendly relations with Russia and China is a first priority of Mongolia’s foreign policy”. 
I always believe that there are two true things for Mongolia. One is that we are neighbours. And the second is that because we are neighbours we are constantly faced with issues that need to be resolved. Therefore, we should strive to resolve the issues that arise during our time to meet the interests of our peoples as well as interests of our neighbours. 
As for policy with regard to relations with other countries, Mongolia defines it as the ‘third neighbour’ policy. I would like to note that our ‘third neighbor’ policy does not involve neither confronting nor to balancing our relations with our immediate neighbours. I hope that you understand that in general, developing equal relations with all the countries in the world is consistent with Mongolia’s core foreign policy principles. 
Just to sidetrack from what I have just said, for me it is the first time that I am meeting with a group of representatives of media from the People’s Republic of China, so aside from officially addressing your questions, I wanted to give you all an opportunity to ask them. I am a journalist myself. So I always try to remember and respect how journalists look for and wish to take every opportunity such as this, to ask questions. 
Q: We are happy to see Mongolia’s fast trade and economic growth in recent years. Please comment on Mongolia’s policy on industrialization. What kind of processing of mining products, particularly deep processing of coal being carried out?  
A: There are some weaknesses in Mongolia’s current economic development. The economy heavily depends on one sector - mining. One of our main economic policies is to reduce reliance on the mining sector. And to do so, it is important to develop industries, to diversify the income source of the economy. We mention about this to our Chinese colleagues as well. Mongolia cannot be seen merely as an exporter of raw materials. This does not meet the interests of our people. Therefore, it is in Mongolia’s best interest to process minerals and agricultural commodities that creates value locally and then to export quality goods. Of course it would not be possible to produce everything in Mongolia. But we believe that there are immense opportunities to process and produce certain products. I would like to take this opportunity to thank China for understanding and supporting Mongolia’s policy and also for cooperating with us.  
Q: Mr. President, you have just mentioned that Mongolia and China will be signing a document on security cooperation. What are the concrete cooperative actions? Is there any specific cooperation on air defence? 
President: When we talk about security cooperation, in a broader sense we mean strengthening mutual understanding and promoting confidence-building among the countries of the Northeast Asia. Mongolia has good-neighbourly relations with all the countries in the region, particularly the Northeast Asia; it has no outstanding issues with any of them. Last year we have formally launched an initiative for “Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security”. Just recently, we have held an international conference among scholars on that initiative. We have also played an intermediary role to hold bilateral meetings upon the request from governments of certain countries. These are the examples of Mongolia’s potentials to contribute to strengthening mutual understanding between the countries of Northeast Asia. I would like to highlight in this regard, that this would be increased with the establishment of comprehensive strategic partnership with China. Cooperation between our military, defence, security and special force has been on increase. However, it should be noted that this cooperation by all means is not directed against the interests of any country.    
Another important aspect of Mongolia’s defence policy is promoting and strengthening peace throughout the world and taking active part in peacekeeping operations.
Q: Mr. President, there have been some cases where you have openly, through media, criticized some of Mongolian politicians, MPs. These were associated with the issue of gauge rails across the border to China. Please comment on Mongolia’s rail policy. And also there are talks on implementing a project called “Silk Road” from the Chinese side and from the Mongolian side “Steppes”, a project to connect five transit corridors. Are there any connections between these two?    
A: Mongolia’s state policy on railway is very clear. Due to its location Mongolia can become a bridge connecting countries of Asia-Pacific and Europe. The closest route between Asia and Europe is through Mongolia. There are immense potentials for Mongolia-China-Russia trilateral cooperation in this sector. We have not yet fully utilized all of these potentials. Mongolia’s main railroad uses only one-sized gauge rails and that is the the former Soviet-standard wide gauge. Since Mongolia has two immediate neighbours we should consider the interests of both of its neighbours. The most important thing is Mongolia’s interest. There is a policy that if it is necessary to use the current gauge for the new railroad, then it is to build using the current gauge and connected to the existing railroad network. However, if it considered that railroads from mining sites and other railroad routes to be constructed using different gauge size, there is a possibility to discuss and approve it at the Governmental as well as Parliament levels.  It was already discussed at the Government level that the standard gauge railroad that is used in China can be constructed and this issue is submitted to the Parliament for further consideration. We have two neighbours and our neighbours use different gauge railroads and therefore, we consider that we need to pursue a flexible policy regarding the railroad standards. This policy is clearly outlined in the “State Policy on Railway Transportation”. We have an open system that provides an opportunity for public and individuals to discuss and express their opinions openly on issues regarding the nation’s development. Therefore, it takes longer time for final decisions. The advantages of openly discussing issues are that the thorough and open discussion provides smoother implementation and the public has unanimous understanding of it. 
The Silk Road Initiative is actively discussed in our region. From the historical point of view, I consider that Mongolia and China played the most important roles in developing of the Silk Road. I personally consider that the Silk Road project cannot be imagined without participation of Mongolia and China. Our border with the People’s Republic of China stretches for total of 4710 kilometers. However, in terms of development in railroads construction, gas pipelines and roads network, Mongolia lacks behind compared to achievements of some other neighbours of the People’s Republic of China. There is a need for our countries to boost our cooperation in these fields and I trust that we can succeed on that. As for five corridors, my opinion is that we should start from the most realistic project first and continue step by step to others. The first realistic project should be construction of railroads. The other important channel is the production and export of energy from Mongolia.   
Q: Cultural exchanges between Mongolia and China are successfully developing. It is great to know that we have jointly registered at UNESCO throat singing and traditional long song as a cultural heritage. Are there any activities directed at preserving the cultural heritages of both countries?
A: We are discussing the possibility of establishing a mechanism of mutual information sharing and dialogue prior to submission to UNESCO for registering cultural heritages. I am glad that we are making progress in this area.
Using the opportunity of meeting media representatives today, I would like to explain a core principle that we follow in Mongolia. Public, individuals and media in Mongolia enjoy an opportunity to freely and openly express their opinions on the issues related to our domestic issues. However, a solid and unified position should be maintained on the matters of foreign policy. We regretfully notice that articles containing inaccurate information related to sovereignty and history of Mongolia have recently been published in Chinese media and websites. We are carefully studying and monitoring this situation. We all know that mass media and operation of websites are strictly regulated in China. Inaccurate interpretation and publication of historical events, making wrong conclusions in relation to recent day developments is unhelpful in our endeavours to strengthen mutual trust and friendship between our nations.  
I would like to share another matter of concern. I personally support President Xi Jinping’s policy to strengthen the rule of law, combat corruption and limit unnecessary public expenditure. I also try to implement such measures in Mongolia. However, I consider that the time has come for us to pay greater attention to cross-border corruption in political spheres. 
Another concern is related to import of labour from China. There are cases where relevant laws of Mongolia have been violated. Any country would enforce policies that are consistent with its laws and regulations. We are grateful for understanding of this position and current cooperation and look forward for continued cooperation in the future.
Q: During my time in Mongolia, I have seen that tourism sector is growing in Mongolia. What policies does Mongolia conduct to attract more tourists?
A: Tourism is an important sector that can contribute to economic development of Mongolia. Citizens of the People’s Republic of China make up one of the biggest number of tourists in the world. I really wish that we grab this opportunity and broaden our cooperation in tourism sector. Because of landlocked location, air connection plays an important role for Mongolia as well. We are actively working in this direction and also broadening our cooperation with China by creating proper legal environment. I would like to note here that Mongolia is open to anyone who respects our traditions and is interested in getting acquainted with unique traditions of Mongolians and beautiful nature of Mongolia.  
Q: It is a great pleasure to meet you today and to learn that you had also worked in the field of journalism. Also, I am grateful that everyone is granted an opportunity for asking a question. This is a great privilege for us. I think that lack of understanding and insufficient bilateral relations lead to those cases of misunderstanding between the two nations as you have just mentioned. In order to train more Chinese-speaking personnel and foster mutual understating, the Confucius Center was established in Ulaanbaatar. What kind of activities are planned to be carried out from Mongolian side?
A: I consider that role of mass media in fostering mutual understanding among nations is very important. Therefore, I wish that more and more representatives from Chinese mass media visit Mongolia to see the true situation, conduct interviews and broadcast to Chinese audience programmes based on actual facts. It is the same in politics and in life that in most of cases rumours are not true. Dialogue is very important and if we first recognize positive side of a certain issue, identify opportunities it renders and work for success then cooperation in any field will be the right one. Representatives of most recognized mass media have gathered here today. I personally try to read all articles published in Mongolian and English languages. Work of a journalist is difficult that knows no time limits. I am grateful to you for keeping journalism at high level and appreciate today’s opportunity to meet you. 
I have prepared small gifts for you. I am presenting you wrist watches similar to one that I have. Journalists always appreciate time.
Your contribution is paramount in increasing mutual understanding between our nations and boosting cooperation between the two countries. I wish all the best in your endeavours.
From late 1989 I have started to actively participate in political and social life. Since that time I had opportunities to have memorable meetings with various leaders of the People’ Republic of China. However, I would like to emphasize that the approach of President Xi Jinping in building cooperation between the two countries is exceptional. I am confident that the visit of President Xi Jinping to Mongolia will be a great success.

Ulaanbaatar and Pyongyang Cities to Accelerate Partnership in Economy, Agriculture and Cultural Spheres
August 18 ( Upon the initiation of the Governor of Capital City, the Northeast Asian Mayors' Forum themed "Sustainable and Inclusive Cities" is ongoing in Ulaanbaatar on August 18-19, 2014.
At this Forum over 120 representatives from six Northeast Asian countries are participating and Governor of Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul received in his office delegates from North Korea headed by Chairman of Pyongyang City Mr. Cha Hui-rim on August 16, 2014.
Ulaanbaatar and Pyongyang cities have established sister-city relations in November 2003 and noting this Mayor E.Bat-Uul underlined, “Although our two cities collaborating since 2003, the partnership comparatively slowed down in recent years. We have a lot to study from Pyongyang, particularly, we want to cooperate in economy, city planning, gardening and agricultural sectors”.
In response, Pyongyang Mayor Cha Hui-rim said, “We glad to participate in this Forum and the cooperation between our two countries has been accelerating in the past two years. In this regard we are ready to deepen partnership between the two cities focusing on economy, agriculture and cultural spheres”.
UB Mayor Meets N.Korean CounterpartMontsame, August 18

Stock Exchange Weekly
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 18 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange on August 11-15 of 2014. In overall, 71 thousand 908 shares were sold of 38 joint-stock companies totalling MNT 129 million 695 thousand and 540.00.
"Jargalant uils” /15 thousand and 700 units/, "Remikon” /10 thousand and 110 units/, "Olloo” /10 thousand units/, "Tavantolgoi” /7,094 units/ and "Hermes center” /5,955 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Gobi” (MNT 45 million 088 thousand and 255), "Tavantolgoi” (MNT 35 million 975 thousand and 080), "UB-BUK” /MNT nine million and 055 thousand/, "APU” /MNT seven million 848 thousand and 605/ and "Mon-it buligaar” (MNT six million 767 thousand and 500). 
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