Mongolian Foreign Policy Between “Two Giants”

On January 20th, Mongolia’s new Foreign Minister Purevsuren Lundeg visited the IPI Vienna office and gave an informal briefing on Mongolia’s contemporary foreign policy priorities and challenges. He described his country’s highest priorities as domestic stability, good relations with Mongolia’s two neighbors China and Russia, and links to “third neighbors,” particularly the United States, the European Union, and Japan.

The foreign minister explained recent diplomatic and trade initiatives designed to enhance relations with Mongolia’s two “giant” neighbors, as well as trilateral meetings between Mongolia, China, and Russia. He also explained Mongolia’s active engagement in improving relations among countries of northeast Asia—for example through the “Ulaanbaatar Dialogue”—that facilitates Track II contacts among participants from China, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, South Korea, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as well as some of Mongolia’s “third neighbors.”

He noted Mongolia’s good relations with NATO as a global partner and stressed his country’s engagement in peacekeeping operations, including in Afghanistan and South Sudan (where Mongolia fields a battalion).

Mr. Purevsuren highlighted that 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of Mongolia’s peaceful transition from communism to democracy and market capitalism. He explained how Mongolia is trying to share this experience “along the bumpy road of democratization” with other countries: for example, a Mongolia International Cooperation Fund has been established to provide support and know-how to a select group of countries including Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and the DPRK.

The foreign minister also described the challenges of promoting trade and developing infrastructure in his landlocked country.

While in Vienna, the foreign minister addressed the Forum for Security Co-operation of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which Mongolia is chairing for the first quarter of 2015.