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Mongolia seeks closer integration with China, Russia
Publication Date : 20-01-2014
Mongolian Foreign Minister Luvsanvandan Bold has called for further cooperation with China on infrastructure and manufacturing projects, with the aim of strengthening his country's integration with neighbours China and Russia.
"Our common goal is to improve overall regional integration, so we are planning big infrastructure projects and production facilities linking Russia, Mongolia and China. This will improve connectivity in the greater region of Central Asia and North Asia," Bold told China Daily on Friday during his visit to Beijing.
His visit is his first foreign trip of 2014 and also the first visit by a foreign minister to the Chinese capital this year.
Mongolia is an important link between two big markets, Europe and Asia, and more specifically, a link between Russia and China, Bold said.
Mongolia has abundant resources, while China has the largest population and huge market demand, meaning China and Mongolia are a good match in mutual development, he added.
Bold said that regional integration of Russia, Mongolia and China will provide enormous business opportunities for many countries.
China has been the leading trading partner and investor in Mongolia over the past 14 years. The trade volume between the two countries in the first 10 months of 2013 was about US$4.5 billion, according to the Foreign Trade Review, released by the Bank of Mongolia in November. This contributed 51 percent of Mongolia's total international trade.
"China's demand has contributed hugely to Mongolia's high economic growth over the years. Trade and economic collaboration is the driving engine of the Mongolia-China strategic partnership. We are developing fruitful cooperation in the fields of mining, construction, road transport and agriculture, and in banking and financial areas," Bold said.
Among the highlighted areas of cooperation, Chinese companies started building a highway from Mongolia's border city of Zamiin-Uud to the East Gobi provincial capital of Sainshand in May 2013.
Once the 124-km highway is finished, it will complete a longer highway from Mongolia's capital of Ulan Bator to China's border city of Ereen Hot. The entire roadway will measure 660 km and will greatly increase bilateral trade.
With increasing trade between China and Mongolia in recent years, import and export freight flows from Zamiin-Uud to Ereen Hot has been growing rapidly. As a result, road congestion has become increasingly prominent.
"Mongolia attaches specific importance to infrastructure programmes, as well as those that produce more value-added products in Mongolia," Bold said.
In a meeting between Bold and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Thursday, the two foreign ministers agreed to increase the annual two-way trade volume to $10 billion, and explore the feasibility of building a free-trade zone in the future.
"Our Parliament has recently adopted the new law on investment, which I believe will open new opportunities for investors in all fields, including mineral resources and mining," he added.
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral relationship, and the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between Mongolia and China. A working plan of activities to celebrate the special anniversary has been signed by the two governments during Bold's trip.