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Xi assent to trilateral summit with Russia, Mongolia
August 22, 2014, 5:24 am

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (L, front) holds a welcoming ceremony for Chinese President Xi Jinping (R, front) before their talks in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, Aug. 21, 2014 [Xinhua]

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (L, front) holds a welcoming ceremony for Chinese President Xi Jinping (R, front) before their talks in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, Aug. 21, 2014 [Xinhua]

China on Thursday voiced support for Mongolia’s proposal to hold a trilateral summit with Russia so as to further strengthen consultation and cooperation among the three neighbors.

The endorsement was conveyed in a joint declaration signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Mongolian counterpart, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, during Xi’s ongoing state visit to Mongolia.

Putin is expected to visit Mongolia next month. China, Russia and Mongolia have already established a working group to build roads, railways and pipelines that would turn Mongolia into a “transit corridor” linking the Chinese and Russian economies.

Mongolia is also an observer in the Russia-China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

On Thursday, China and Mongolia signed a slew of mining and finance deals and a joint declaration upgrading their relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”.

China and Mongolia agreed Thursday to target a bilateral trade of $10 billion by 2020.

Landlocked, sparsely populated and resource-rich, Mongolia is also being wooed by the US as an important strategic partner for the US “pivot” to Asia. Washington is eyeing Mongolia’s geostrategic position to serve as a conduit for the US into the Northeast and Central Asian regions. In 2012, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the Asian country as a model of democracy and called it an “inspiration.”

During a visit by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel in April this year, the US and Mongolia signed a military exercises and training cooperation agreement.

Meanwhile, two-way trade between China and Mongolia stood at $324 million in 2002, but the yearly volume rocketed to nearly $6 billion in 2013, accounting for more than half of Mongolia’s total foreign trade.

China has been Mongolia’s largest trading partner and largest source of foreign investment over the past 10-plus years.

Xi said he is willing to maintain communication with Elbegdorj through various channels on major international issues of common concern, and invited the Mongolian President to attend a dialogue among China’s partners on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit due to be held in Beijing in November.

 

 TBP and Agencies

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