China, Mongolia share development goals after 70 years of diplomatic relations

Wednesday marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Mongolia. 

China has promoted the building of a community of shared future for mankind, which is of great significance for the good neighborly cooperation between the two Asian neighbors. 

First, the concept of a community of shared future for mankind, which is aimed at forging partnerships in which countries treat each other as equals, engage in mutual consultation and show mutual understanding, can help increase political trust between China and Mongolia. The concept underscores that large countries should respect each other's core interests and major concerns and treat small countries as equals.

In keeping with the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation between China and Mongolia, both sides have agreed to develop good neighborly relations on the basis of mutual respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. The basic principles of China-Mongolia relations are in line with the concept of a community of shared future for mankind. 

Second, the concept of a community of shared future for mankind can bring the two countries closer in terms of security. The concept is committed to promoting common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in the world and safeguarding the international order centered on the UN Charter.

This is in line with Mongolia's security interests and peaceful foreign policy. The country proposed the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue Initiative to provide a mechanism for Northeast Asian countries to promote peaceful dialogue, avoid armed conflicts, enhance mutual trust among Northeast Asian countries and resolve security problems. 

Besides, China and Mongolia will cooperate on combating transnational crimes such as smuggling, drug trafficking and terrorism. 

Third, a community of shared future for mankind helps expand China-Mongolia trade. China is the largest energy consumer in the world and has a huge market, while Mongolia is rich in natural resources, and its domestic market is relatively small. China has huge capital and technology for infrastructure development that Mongolia lacks. As a result, China-Mongolia trade volume and cooperation projects have seen a rise. 

Major projects implemented by China in Mongolia are in accord with the latter's national development strategy and are beneficial to its socioeconomic development. For example, China has built Mongolia's first highway. China has also been passing on experience and technology to Mongolia during projects and helping Mongolia train professionals and skilled workers, which improves Mongolia's ability to develop independently.

Fourth, it can foster people-to-people contacts between the two countries. China's vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind recognizes and respects the diversity and equality of world civilizations, sees mutual learning among civilizations as an impetus for social development, and promotes inclusiveness and cooperation. It not only grasps the essential feature of social progress, but also shows the power and value of civilizations. It will directly advance people-to-people contacts and cultural communication in the international community. Exchanges between China and Mongolia are of course no exception.

In recent years, there have been frequent cultural exchanges between China and Mongolia. Several cultural events have been organized by the two sides. A growing number of Mongolian students are studying in China, and many Confucius Institutes and Chinese language teaching centers have been set up in Mongolia. 

Fifth, it will boost China-Mongolia ecological cooperation. The community with a shared future for mankind not only is an inter-country model of development and communication, but also represents Chinese people's basic judgment of the relationship between human destiny and ecological civilization.

Linked by mountains and rivers, China and its neighbors face similar environmental problems. So China must join hands with its neighbors to build a global ecosystem and seek a path to sustainable development. This also brings a significant opportunity for Mongolia to promote sustainable development. Roughly three-quarters of Mongolia's land is degraded or suffers from desertification. Guided by the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, the two neighbors can jointly build a green silk road, develop green economy, address climate change, and fight against natural disasters. Specific cooperation projects can be carried out in terms of desertification control, environmental restoration in mining areas, and managing haze. 

To summarize, China's proposal to build a community with a shared future for mankind will guarantee comprehensive cooperation between China and Mongolia. In the future, the two countries should broaden consensus, continue to establish and strengthen partnerships in terms of development initiatives, and further push good neighborly relations to new heights.

The author is an assistant research fellow at the Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences.

China-Mongolia ties at best moment in history: Chinese ambassador

China-Mongolia relations are at their best moment in history, Chinese Ambassador to Mongolia Xing Haiming said on Wednesday.
The two countries forged diplomatic relations exactly 70 years ago today. The Chinese ambassador described the 70th anniversary of bilateral ties as a "new starting point."
He noted that the two countries should continue to strengthen their political mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation, increase mutual understanding between both peoples and support each other in international and regional affairs.
The Chinese ambassador expressed confidence that the two countries can achieve their goal of increasing bilateral trade to 10 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.
China has been Mongolia's biggest trading partner and top export market for many years.
Bilateral trade surpassed eight billion dollars last year, edging closer to the 10-billion-dollar target set for 2020, according to the ambassador.

China-funded high-voltage power line handed over to Mongolia

MANDALGOVI, Mongolia, Oct.18 (Xinhua) -- A completed China-funded 330 kV power transmission and transformation project in southern Mongolia was on Friday officially handed over to the Mongolian side.
Mongolian Energy Minister Tserenpil Davaasuren and Chinese Ambassador to Mongolia Xing Haiming attended the handover ceremony held in Mandalgovi, capital of Dundgovi Province.
Work on the power line started in September 2017.
The 330 kv line is the highest-voltage electricity transmission and transformation line in Mongolia, Davaasuren said.
"We believe that the line will improve the reliability of power supply for major mines in the southern region of Mongolia, including Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, reduce energy costs as well as a reliance on imported electricity and promote local economic and social development," he said.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Mongolia. Noticing a good momentum in the development of bilateral ties, Xing said, "The China-Mongolia comprehensive strategic partnership has been deepening."

Mongolian currency weakens against USD, Yuan in first 3Qs

ULAN BATOR, Oct.15 (Xinhua) -- The exchange rate of the Mongolian national currency the Tugrik against the U.S. dollar weakened by 6.6 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters, official data showed Tuesday.
The dollar traded at 2,667.21 against the Tugrik at the end of the third quarter, according to the data from Mongolia's National Statistics Office (NSO).
The depreciation was mainly attributed to higher imports that led to the outflow of dollars, according to experts from the NSO.
The country's total imports stood at 4.6 billion dollars in the January-September period, up 5.7 percent from a year ago.
In addition, the exchange rate of the Tugrik against the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, dropped by 2.8 percent in the first three quarters of this year from the same period last year. One yuan bought 374.10 Mongolian Tugriks at the end of September.

Mongolia's exports up 12.6 pct in 9 months

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia's exports reached 5.9 billion U.S. dollars in the first nine months of the year, up 12.6 percent year on year, said the country's National Statistical Office (NSO) Monday.
Mongolia demonstrated a foreign trade surplus as exports exceeded imports by 1.3 billion dollars, the NSO said.
Minerals and textiles accounted for 95.8 percent of the total exports.

Mongolia welcomes nearly 480,000 foreign tourists in first three quarters

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia welcomed nearly 480,000 foreign tourists in the first nine months this year, up 10.7 percent year-on-year, official data showed Monday.
In the January-September period, 61.8 percent of the tourists to Mongolia were from the East Asia and Pacific region, 31.4 percent from Europe, 4.5 percent from the Americas and 2.3 percent from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa region, the country's National Statistics Office (NSO) said.
Chinese tourists accounted for 31.6 percent of the total number of foreign tourists in the period, according to the NSO.
Mongolia has been striving to develop its tourism sector in a bid to diversify its mining-dependent economy. The country has set a goal of hosting one million foreign tourists and earning one billion U.S. dollars from tourism by 2020.
Mongolia attracted a total of 529,370 foreign tourists in 2018, up 11.01 percent from the previous year, according to the country's Environment and Tourism Ministry.

Mongolian, Kazakh businesses interested in creating sheep clusters

NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM – The day before Saparkhan Omarov, Kazakhstan’s Minister for Agriculture, met with the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry of Mongolia C. Ulan, Kazinform reports referring to the press service of the department.

Mr. Omarov noted that Mongolia is an important trade and economic partner in the field of agriculture in particular in beef cattle and sheep breeding. 

Currently, cooperation of the countries is carried out within the framework of a memorandum between the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Mongolia, as well as the agreements reached during the meetings of the Kazakh-Mongolian intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural partnership. 

Kazakhstan is interested in joint livestock and meat processing projects. The Veterinary Service of Kazakhstan works closely with the Veterinary Service of Mongolia. The day before a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of veterinary medicine was signed by representatives of the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture and the Main Veterinary Administration under the Agency of the Mongolian Government. 

Mongolian and Kazakhstani businesses are interested in implementing joint projects in Kazakhstan to develop meat processing and create sheep-breeding clusters. Thus, the parties have discussed meat processing projects on the basis of the Semipalatinsk meat processing plant and «Steppe Sheep» sheep-breeding cluster of Karaganda region. Kazakhstan’s Minister of Agriculture also noted that the work on interaction between the two states’ research organizations is underway. 

The trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Mongolia in agricultural products in January-July 2019 amounted to USD24.0 million. The export of agricultural products from Kazakhstan to Mongolia in January-July 2019 increased to USD23.8 million.


Indian Minister of Natural Gas and Petroleum participates in commissioning ceremony for oil refinery project

Ulaanbaatar [Mongolia], Oct 9 (ANI): Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday participated in a commissioning ceremony of infrastructure facilities constructed to support the proposed 1.5 MMT oil refinery project in Mongolia.

Mongolia Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, six Cabinet Ministers of Mongolia and Governor of Dornogovi Province, T. Enkhtuvshin were also present at the ceremony. This will pave the way for the development of the refinery project being supported by India under a line of credit of USD 1.236 billion. Speaking at the occasion, Pradhan said, "The age-old ties between India and Mongolia was further strengthened by the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 and further cemented by the recent visit of President of Mongolia, Khaltmaagiin Battulga in September this year to India. This important event will pave the way to open a new chapter in our bilateral trade and investment relations." "India greatly values its close and friendly relations with Mongolia. We are also 'spiritual neighbours' connected by our shared Buddhist heritage. The construction of the 1.5 MMT oil refinery project with Indian assistance is a shining example of our friendship," he added.

The Union Minister said he was happy to share that on Mongolia's request, India announced an additional USD 236 million Line of Credit. "The project will boost Mongolia's long-term energy security, economic development and will lead to the development of ancillary industries related to refinery and pipeline operations," Pradhan said. He further said, "Mining sector, which contributes to more than one-fifth of GDP of Mongolia, is an attractive area with good potential for joint exploration and collaboration in coking coal, copper, rare earth metals and gold for mutual benefit." Pradhan also held a meeting with Foreign Minister of Mongolia, Damdin Tsogtbaatar and discussed further strengthening bilateral cooperation in energy and minerals sectors, and prospects for enhancing trade volume with Mongolia. The Union Minister also held discussions on building energy bridges and realising the full potential of bilateral and trade relations with the Mongolian Prime Minister while en route to Sainshand. Earlier, Pradhan met with Nandinjargal Ganbold, State Secretary, Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry and senior Representative of Foreign Ministry of Mongolia upon his arrival in Ulaanbaatar. (ANI)


Mongolia’s PM meet in Kazakh capital

NUR-SULTAN.KAZINFORM Nursultan Nazarbayev met with Prime Minister of Mongolia Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh, the official website of the First President of Kazakhstan reads.

During the meeting Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that Kazakhstan and Mongolia are historically allied nations.
“Since the first of days of independence I tried to strengthen relations between Kazakhstan and Mongolia. 120, 000 Kazakhs of Mongolia are the live bridge between the countries. You had talks with the Kazakh Prime Minister. You also plan to attend the business forum. Currently, the commodity turnover between the two countries is low. I am confident you will settle all these issues, “ Nazarbaev said.
In this turn, Mongolian PM expressed gratitude to Nursultan Nazarbaev for the warm welcome and the high-level meeting.

Near-to-medium-term outlook for Mongolian economy remains positive: World Bank

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank (WB) said on Thursday that the near-to-medium-term outlook for the Mongolian economy remains positive.
"Growth momentum has continued in the first half of 2019, as its gross domestic product rose to 7.3 percent from 6.8 percent in 2018," Jean-Pascal N. Nganou, World Bank senior economist for Mongolia, told a press conference here upon the release of the October 2019 edition of the WB East Asia and Pacific Economic Update.
The robust performance has largely been supported by a strong coal sector and increased private investment, he said, adding that in the near to medium term, the country's growth outlook remains positive.
However, there are some risks to Mongolian economic growth, including political uncertainty, commodity price shocks, cross-border bottlenecks, implementation delay in mega projects and slower implementation of banking sector reforms, he said.
The WB has projected Mongolia's economy to grow by 6.9 percent in 2019, down 0.3 percentage point from its previous estimation in April.
In addition, the Asian country's economic growth is projected to soften to 6.3 percent in 2020 and 5.9 percent in 2021 due to the above-mentioned risks, according to the bank.

Indian Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan to visit Mongolia on October

New Delhi [India], Oct 6 (ANI): Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan will pay a two-day visit to Mongolia from October 8 as a follow up of the state visit by Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga in September, an official statement said on Sunday.
"On October 8, the Minister will participate in the opening ceremony of infrastructure that Mongolia has already constructed for the Indian funded, Mongol Refinery project," the statement read.
The refinery project is being developed under a line of credit of USD 1.236 billion extended by New Delhi during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Mongolia in 2015 and subsequently enhanced during the State visit of the President of Mongolia to India in September 2019.
During the visit, Pradhan will hold meetings with the Mongolian Minister for Mining and Heavy Industry to, "develop a roadmap for commencing the construction of the Refinery". Possible areas of collaboration in other sectors like mining, coking coal, and railways will also be discussed.
The Minister will call on the Prime Minister and President of Mongolia.
The two countries had reached a strategic partnership during PM Modi's visit to Mongolia in 2015. A number of high-level exchanges have taken place since then and the partnership has seen considerable progress during the last few years. (ANI)

Chinese embassy in Mongolia holds reception to mark 70th anniversary of PRC founding

ULAN BATOR, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Embassy in Mongolia on Wednesday hosted a ceremonial reception to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
Speaking at the reception, Chinese Ambassador to Mongolia Xing Haiming said that over the past 70 years China has been contributing to world peace and development.
The past 70 years have witnessed the development of China-Mongolia relations featuring mutual benefits and win-win outcome, Xing said, noting that the coordination of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia's Development Road program has been deepened, and bilateral economic and trade cooperation has been continuously expanded.
Mongolian parliament speaker Gombojav Zandanshatar said at the reception that Mongolia-China relations and cooperation are "at a historic high."
"We will not forget that over the past 70 years, China provided Mongolia with a great amount of aid and soft loans in support of our country's socio-economic development and raising the living standards of our people," he said.
Present at the reception at the Shangri-la Hotel were some 1,000 guests, including Mongolia's government ministers and parliament members, foreign diplomats, representatives of multiple organizations and those of Chinese companies in Mongolia.


Transparency International (TI) congratulates the speaker of the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia, Mr. G. Zandanshatar, for initiating crucial reforms to the country’s anti-corruption law and tabling a long-awaited debate on the draft law on whistleblower protection that was originally submitted in 2016. The whistleblower protection bill should be modified to meet international standards on transparency, openness and accountability.
L. Tur-Od, President of TI - Mongolia, described the Speaker of Parliament’s actions as a positive indication of his commitment to join the international fight against corruption. “It is also a clear indication of his intention to clean up and establish an open Parliament, as well as subscribe to the open government and national integrity principles that TI Mongolia has been advocating for since its inception.”
Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, said: “Strong protection for whistleblowers is a vital pillar of any country’s anti-corruption framework. International standards and best practices for whistleblower protection laws can serve as important guides towards passing strong legislation that truly protects those who come forward to report wrongdoing.”
At the same time, however, the Mongolian Parliament appears to be attempting to reduce civic space, freedom of expression, association, assembly, and civil society’s access to resources through newly proposed draft laws on non-profit legal entities, political parties and social media. Moreover, in its on-going process of proposed constitutional amendments and changes, Mongolia should fully subscribe to its international commitments, particularly on Goal 16 targets under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, for building ‘effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’. Undermining the constitutional foundations of plural democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law will lead to increased corruption and impunity, Transparency International warned.

Source:Transparency International

S. Korea, Mongolia ink customs deal to facilitate trade

SEJONG, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Mongolia on Monday signed a customs deal meant to facilitate bilateral trade, South Korea's customs agency said.
The Mutual Recognition Arrangement for authorized economic operators was inked between Kim Yung-moon, commissioner of the Korea Customs Service, and his Mongolian counterpart in Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar, according to Korea Customs Service.
The arrangement calls for each of the respective sides to speedily clear products from the other country and give priority in customs processing, as well as to set up dedicated contact points to deal with complications in clearance.
Currently, South Korea has a Mutual Recognition Arrangement with 21 countries, including the United States, China and Japan.

Mongolia’s journalists won’t get left behind on the worldwide trend of fact-checking


Nestled between the borders of Russia and China — two nations internationally notorious for their state-backed disinformation campaigns — lies Mongolia, a country now preparing to fight electoral false news.
The country will elect a new parliament in 2020 and a new president in 2021, and in light of this has just launched a fact-checking collaborative project with 20 television, newspaper and radio outlets from around the country.
FactCheck Mongolia started a few weeks ago and resembles those fact-checking alliances seen in Latin America lately: Reverso in Argentina, Comprova in Brazil and VerificaUY in Uruguay.
Mongolia’s vast and mountainous landscapes are home to a uniquely chaotic media environment. As of a 2016 report from Reporters Without Borders, 74% of media outlets in the country have political affiliations. While media freedom is guaranteed by law, there’s no regulation on things like election ads.
That means media outlets and politicians alike can fill the news cycle with misinformation.
Fact-check Mongolia is trying to change this.
“For the coming election, we’re expecting a huge production of fake news,” said Tamir Tsolmonbaatar, the project manager, in an email to the IFCN. “That’s why Mongolian media have agreed to do something (to fight back) … We are trying not to get left behind on this worldwide trend (of political fact-checking).”

Mongolia’s parliamentary elections are coming up in 2020, as well as local elections at the provincial and district levels. In 2021, a new president will be elected.
Parliamentary elections in 2016 included 498 candidates running in 76 electorate districts, so Tsolmonbaatar said he expects there will be plenty of politically motivated disinformation flooding social media platforms.
According to the Communications Regulatory Commission of Mongolia, 83.5% of the total population use the internet regularly.
“Social media use increased during (the parliamentary election in 2016),” Tsolmonbaatar said. “But there’s yet to be any law implemented to regulate election ads in social media environments.”
Some government actors have taken steps to address misinformation by drafting laws and bills that would regulate social media use more strictly. But for now, the press is frequently opaque when it comes to funding and ownership, and Tsolmonbaatar said this allows for politicians to bribe journalists and media outlets into publishing flattering yet completely falsified content.
This was the case for the presidential election of 2017, when the candidate Sainkhüügiin Ganbaatar, a member of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, posed for a photo in which he appeared to be digging snow out from underneath his car.
“The truth was, his car hadn’t gotten stuck in the snow, it was stopped at a paved road,” Tsolmonbaatar explained. “He was trying to show how humble and personable he was, and ran ‘hidden’ campaign ads (on social media) using this photo.”
According to Tsolmonbaatar, political candidates also frequently disseminate completely falsified photos, videos or claims about their opponents to large audiences on social media platforms or via news outlets, and Mongolia’s General Election Commission has yet to act.
To fight back, Fact-Check Mongolia’s principal goal is to develop the skills necessary for fact-checking in all the newsrooms that have joined the alliance. This includes 13 from the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and seven from local provinces, as well as a mix of radio, magazine, newspaper and television platforms.
Journalists will take part in several training sessions funded by Deutsche Welle Akademie, a German state-owned public international broadcaster. The Mongolian Center for Investigative Reporters, which Tsolmonbaatar co-founded, will also organize and fund follow-up training and consulting sessions.
The whole operation will be run from Truly Media, an online collaboration platform designed to support the verification of social media content.
Tsolmonbaatar said the organization’s members hope to be ready in time to fact-check the 2020 elections, and be able to publish reliable, evidence-based information.
He said that he hopes fact-checking picks up among other media sites, though these are often poorly resourced and reporters may not have the money or time.
“We have a national, common understanding of what it means to do fact-checking within traditional media productions, but not what it means to do political fact-checking and hoax debunking,” he said. Mongolia’s journalism schools have yet to offer a course on this specific kind of journalistic verification, but Tsolmonbaatar said some are working on updating their curriculum.
All 20 newsrooms in the alliance have agreed to follow the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles for best practices in fact-checking, including transparency, nonpartisanship and an honest corrections policy.
Nonetheless, Tsolmonbaatar said he expects politicians to react negatively to the project. “They’ll probably spread negative information about us, and maybe try to influence some of our journalists or allied newsrooms,” he said.
“But we believe journalists and newsrooms that joined our network won’t get bought.”


First responders, volunteers train with Mongolian partners during Gobi Wolf 19

SAINSHAND, Mongolia – There are several important pieces of equipment firefighters wear that make up their Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) or "turnout gear.” Of all the specialized pieces, the most distinct for Cheyenne Sanchez is a photo of his sister inside his fireman's helmet.

“When I suit-up to go into a building that is on fire, the helmet is the last piece of equipment to go onto my head, and her picture is the last thing I see as I go into a life-threatening situation,” Sanchez said, describing how essential a 'safety first' approach is heading into harm's way.

“It's that final reminder that I need to return home safely to the people that I love and who care about me.”

Sanchez, a firefighter with Capital City Fire and Rescue in Juneau, Alaska, is one of many key first responders and volunteers, from both the U.S. military and civilian sectors supporting the Gobi Wolf 2019 exercise taking place in Sainshand, Mongolia from Sept. 9 -21, 2019. He was specially recruited by the Alaska State hazardous materials (HAZMAT) team coordinator, Megan Kroller to instruct firefighter and HAZMAT response training.

“At the international level, I've never done anything like this before coming here,” he said, describing how the range of experience with his Mongolian counterparts differed from person to person. “We had folks with just six-months all the way up to 20 years of experience, and it added to the challenges, but in many ways, it helped us move quickly through drills where 'everyone got it,' so we could focus on more specific group needs.”

The two-week exercise was designed to bolster the Mongolian civil authorities and national defense response to potential disaster situations while employing vital strategic communication and integrating foreign humanitarian assistance into emergency-management positions.

“I really wanted to hammer home this idea of safety and HAZMAT response,” Sanchez said, contrasting his rural Alaska background where fewer numbers of first responders play a vital role to ensure mission success.

“As the week went on, I got the impression that if there was a major catastrophic event, they would send as many bodies as they can to fix the problem,” he said. “We [in Alaska] don't have an unlimited amount of resources and personnel – so if one firefighter or rescuer gets injured, that is a failure of the event for us; emphasizing personal safety it something I wanted each of them to get, so that they could go home to their families too.”

The Mongolian Armed Forces and the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) as part of the United States Army Pacific’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief “Pacific Resilience” series hosted the Gobi Wolf exercise. Mongolia has an ongoing State Partnership with Alaska and during this year's exercise, the Oregon National Guard played a key role in supporting all groups during the training.

Whether it was rope rescue, search and extraction, or collapsed structures, the Oregon CERFP members quickly discovered that their Mongolian partners were curious in the teaching techniques and hands-on experience offered throughout the exercise.

“They [NEMA members] had limited experience with shoring and structural collapse but they quickly adapted to the techniques and equipment we use to build structural collapse systems,” said Oregon National Guard Sgt. Joseph Duchscherer, assigned to the 1186th Military Police Company and CERFP Search and Extraction team leader.

With a team of five other Guardsmen, they worked through a full week of training in an abandoned facility that proved to be an ideal exercise site for multiple scenarios. Often the location had two and three training projects taking place at the same time; from rope teams rappelling from the rooftops to jackhammers noisily cutting through concrete, and search and rescue dogs curiously roving through the old factory floors.

“In many ways, this exercise was a little more 'real-world' in nature because lumber is scarce in this part of the country – to do this work you have to make the best of what resources are available,” Duchscherer said.

“It was also great to compare and contrast other best practices techniques because the NEMA rescue unit members are seasoned professionals too.”

The planning for the exercise started months in advance and included subject-matter experts to meet the specific request made by local NEMA officials.

“In February of this year we started planning this exercise and had a large window of time to build it, but it wasn't until the end that we had all of the specialized experts in place to meet the program,” said Lt. Col. Eric Slayter, U.S. Army Pacific Director, Northeast Asia Civil-Military Operations and exercise director.

The Gobi Wolf 2019 exercise had 21 different training classes up from just eight during the previous year's exercise. Slayter said that this greatly expanded the need for both the quality and quantity of instructors to fill the large agenda.

“Many of these aspects for Gobi Wolf 19 pin-pointed technical exchange and in-depth course work, which is why we brought in groups like the Forestry Service to talk about incident command systems, and other specialized areas in disaster management systems, public affairs, and medical treatment.”

This year's Gobi Wolf exercise also hosted a conference on Women's Peace and Security, highlighting the need to focus on vulnerable populations where women are primarily responsible for children and elderly members of the family.

The engagement is a critical part of the Government of Mongolia’s ability to prepare for an unforeseen crisis. However, these crises are not only unique to Mongolia but are prevalent throughout the Indo-Pacific.

“We do this to build lasting relationships with partner nations, not just military and government agencies – but to foster broader cooperation to effectively respond to disasters,” Slayter said, all the while emphasizing other non-governmental organizations integral role in the exercise.

“The Alaska civilians and other first responder filled critical areas and were incredible subject-matter experts.”

One of those experts was Don Werhonig, assistant fire chief of Fairbanks North Star Bureau HAZMAT Team. After serving in the U.S. Army for 10 years, he transitioned to working hazards materials for the past 18 years. The training was not far from his heart, working alongside American military members and their Mongolian counterparts.

“I loved everything about being a squad leader (in the Army) and working with my troops and supporting their specific needs,” he said, recalling his prior service experience working with uniformed personnel. “So it was easy for me to share and relate to their (NEMA) unit structure and needs.”

The training allowed NEMA rescue unit members to go in-depth on many hazards chemicals that could impact large portions of the population in the Dornogovi Province in the event of earthquakes, train derailments and the various destructive effects from random sand storms in the Gobi Desert.

“This has been one of the best real-world experiences I've ever done, and I enjoyed the interaction with our NEMA host members and their engagement in the classroom,” he said.

These agency-to-agency interactions strike at the core of the exercise; comparing similar disaster response capabilities, yet providing a platform for NEMA to further develop and manage environmental and hazardous material disaster responses in specific areas around the country.

On the final day of the Gobi Wolf exercise, an after-action review allowed participants to provide feedback on the complexity of the training and develop improvements for future training.

Addressing the participants, Col. Nuganbayar Batmunch, deputy chief of NEMA highlighted the training between the two nations.

“This has been 14 days of amazing training where we could organize and gain great knowledge with our American colleagues,” he said, speaking through an interpreter. “During Gobi Wolf, we were able to share and build on a common desire; where we strive to meet the needs of others when disaster and recovery operations are critically needed.”


Explained: How India is helping Mongolia’s space flight dreams

In April 2017, Mongolia launched its first satellite, the Mongol Sat-1, in partnership with telecom and broadcast provider Asia Broadcast Satellite, in order to "diversify its resource-dependent economy".

Last week, India and the landlocked nation of Mongolia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation and usage of outer space for civilian purposes. An MoU on disaster management was also signed during Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga’s State Visit to India.
A joint statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs said that the agreement on space exploration would “…provide a framework for expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation particularly in the fields of remote sensing, satellite communication, and applications of space technology in areas including resource management, weather forecasting and disaster management and etc.”.
In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Mongolia, which strengthened bilateral relations between the two countries, which are governed by the Treaty of Friendly Relations and Cooperation, signed in February 1994.

Mongolia and space

An MoU similar to the one signed Thursday was signed in 2004 between the Department of Space, Government of India and the Ministry of Infrastructure, Government of Mongolia. That agreement provided a framework for the two countries in the areas of space science and technology.

It included activities in the areas of satellites, sounding rockets, balloons and ground facilities for space research. “The agreement also covers studies related to satellite communications, satellite-based remote sensing and satellite meteorology, satellite ground stations and satellite mission management, training facilities and exchange of scientists,” according to information on the website of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
In April 2017, Mongolia launched its first satellite, the Mongol Sat-1, in partnership with telecom and broadcast provider Asia Broadcast Satellite, in order to “diversify its resource-dependent economy”. Later that same year, it launched a ‘CubeSat’ miniature satellite called Mazaalai, named after the highly endangered Gobi bear of Mongolia.
Mazaalai was launched as part of the SpaceX CRS-11 mission, carried on a Falcon 9 rocket that lifted off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, United States. CubeSats are meant for space research, and Maazalai was launched along with CubeSats from Japan, Nigeria, Ghana, and Bangladesh.
The central aim of Mazaalai was to be able to conduct independent space research, develop accurate maps, and to be able to prevent natural disasters.


With the help of India in Mongolia, oil refinery will be ready by the end of 2022: Pradhan

(G.N.S) Dt. 21 New Delhi Oil refinery being set up in Mongolia with the help of one billion dollars by India will be ready by December 2022. Giving this information, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that this oil refinery will start meeting three-fourths of Mongolia’s fuel requirement. The Prime Minister was addressing a meeting with a business delegation from Mongolia President Khaltamagin Battugla who visited India.


India-funded refinery for Mongolia

New Delhi to shell out $236 m in addition to $1-bn credit line for project

India has agreed to shell out an additional $236 million to add to the $1 billion line of credit to Mongolia for setting up an oil refinery.
Discussions on the refinery as well as diversifying the relationship into areas such as space and defence formed the crux of the joint statement after official-level talks with Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga, who is here on a five-day state visit.
However, there was a note of caution with the Mongolian side agreeing that it was of critical importance to finalise the transportation means and its timely completion for project to be successful. India is understandably anxious to avoid the project becoming a white elephant and turning into political football because of the delicate domestic politics in Mongolia where China still holds considerable sway.

India stressed the importance of making raw material available for the refinery and building either the pipeline or alternate means in time by the time the refinery is completed. As of now, the line of credit is only for refinery and not for the pipeline or any alternate option to bring crude to the refinery.
India is pacing out the development of ties with Mongolia after its attempt at acceleration had suffered a setback. PM Narendra Modi had visited Mongolia and made a slew of announcements. But China enforced a trade blockade after the Dalai Lama visited Mongolia. It relented only after receiving an apology from the then Foreign Minister.
The Mongolian President had met PM Modi a fortnight back at Vladivostok where they had discussed several projects. Importantly, Indian engineers will be working on a project that is at a short distance from a crucial Chinese arm of its One Belt One Road project. 

The civilizational dimension of foreign policy

With Mongolia's president in India, some trade agreements may be signed but soft power linkages must proceed autonomously

That Delhi Cantonment has a long road called Ulaanbaatar Marg seems quite intriguing. I don’t know whether, like the Murree Gate, the Kashmiri Gate and the Lahori Gate in the old city, this is an old name that has persisted in the new city, or like the streets named after Josip Tito, Archbishop Makarios and Gamal Abdel Nasser, is a feature of post-Independence non-aligned/Third World diplomacy. Whatever the historical reality — and I am tempted to believe that this is an old name that has somehow survived — Ulaanbaatar is a very long way from Delhi.
It took me nearly 17 hours — which included a seven-hour wait at the airport in Seoul — to get from Delhi to the capital of the country that used to be called Outer Mongolia, distinguished from Inner Mongolia which is a part of China. The journey would have been a few hours shorter had I chosen to fly via Hong Kong. However, with the troubles in that city occasionally spilling over into the airport, the travel agent advised against an incremental surge in the quantum of adventure.
Ulaanbaatar is a very long way from the dusty plains of Hindustan. Before motor and air transport entered the picture, it must have taken the horse and camel caravans nearly two years, including a forbidding journey across the great Gobi Desert, to get from Delhi to Ulaanbaatar. Even the mighty Genghis Khan, the redoubtable 13th-century warrior whose empire extended from Ukraine and Georgia in the west to China, including much of Central Asia, stopped at the gates of India. At one time, after his conquests of Bukhara, Samarkand, Tabriz and Bamiyan, not to mention much of China, his Mongol chiefs had contemplated a military expedition to India. However, if a modern historian is to be believed, the mighty Genghis vetoed the swoop on India because he couldn’t bear the soaring summer temperatures. Timur or Tamerlane, who married into the Genghis Khan family, realized that Mongol dream in the 14th century in a spectacularly brutal way. However, it was Timur’s descendant Babur who brought the tradition of the steppes into India by founding the Mughal empire which endured till 1857.
The tradition of pan-Mongolism, which appealed to many Asian nationalists in the late-19th and early 20th centuries, sought to link the outposts and the subsequent history of Genghis Khan’s huge empire by a common thread. While this is an interesting narrative that once served as a counterpoint to European domination, the commonalities are very tenuous today.
I was in Mongolia for a two-day Hindu-Buddhist dialogue on conflict avoidance and the environment. It was held at the imposing Gandan monastery (picture) in the heart of Ulaanbaatar and graciously hosted by the Khamba Lama, who occupies a pivotal place in the unofficial hierarchy of Buddhist monks in Mongolia. The Gandan monastery — which now boasts a new central temple built by the government of India — has a chequered history. Following the anti-Buddhist purges of the 1930s by the communists, most monasteries were either closed or destroyed and the priceless manuscripts and artefacts either destroyed or stolen. Buddhism was outlawed and nearly 30,000 monks were killed. Gandan survived because the communists needed a token monastery to show visitors that religious practices remained undisturbed under socialism.
Six decades of regimented communist rule had a catastrophic effect on the character of the Mongolian people. Apart from the loss of invaluable treasures, it snapped a tradition of classical learning that had been shaped by the Buddhist inheritance of Tibet and even India. But more than
the scholasticism of the monks, the attempt to secularize Mongolian culture left a huge cultural void, particularly among the generations who felt uprooted.
Today’s Mongolia is a study in contrasts. Outwardly, there is a country with imperfect infrastructure, international brands, an excess of SUVs and absolutely infuriating traffic jams in Ulaanbaatar. This is not to mention the pollution in the city. However, existing on a parallel track is the world that is sought to be preserved and lovingly nurtured by the Buddhist monks in monasteries such as the Gandan or even the Pethub Stangey Choskhorling monastery established by the great Ladakhi spiritual leader Kushak Bakula Rinpoche in 1999. Kushak Bakula served as India’s ambassador to Mongolia from 1990 to 2000 and played a seminal role in recovering Buddhism for post-communist Mongolia.
Buddhism in Mongolia is more than just a spiritual and religious tradition. It is the link between its past and present and exists as an upholder of the Mongolian way of life. Genghis Khan was not a Buddhist. Like other herdsmen of the steppes, he worshipped the open blue sky and had a special veneration for Mount Burkhan Khaldun near the Siberian border — an area that till recently was considered out of bounds because it was the sacred space of Genghis Khan. Yet today, this national hero of Mongolia whose imposing statue looks over the main square of Ulaanbaatar has been incorporated as a key spiritual figure in the Mahayana Buddhism of Mongolia.

The seamless merger of spiritualism, history and the Mongolian way of life is quite striking. Coinciding with the conference, the Gandan monastery also hosted a Naadam — the traditional games that centred on archery, wrestling and horse riding. The sporting events were preceded by an elaborate ritual of traditional dance and music aimed at invoking the gods and driving out the evil spirits. The musicians and dancers were professional artistes. As the Khamba Lama explained to me, they were monks who had spent the preceding six days in prayer and meditation — the necessary preparation for the event.
The event was conducted in a stadium with a striking backdrop. There was a gigantic hand-embroidered tapestry of Vajrasena and below that was a depiction of a serene Genghis Khan who is also venerated as a spiritual guide. The stylized dance was performed by monks dressed in traditional Mongolian finery and masks. It is interesting to note that the elaborate use of silk dates back to the 13th century and Genghis Khan’s subjugation of kingdoms in China. Prior to that, Mongolian tribesmen had been bereft of luxuries and were dependent only on animal skin and fur.
In the outer circle of the pageant were those dressed up as gods who were the protector of the elements — a throwback to some features of Mongolia’s pre-Buddhist faiths. These included at least three figures that have a place in Hindu mythology: the elephant-headed Ganesh, Saraswati and Yama represented by two walking skeletons. The ceremonial burning of the evil spirits in a huge bonfire was an elaborate affair in which all the important monks, including the Khamba Lama, participated.
I did not stay for the entire Naadam which stretched into the late evening. However, what was amply clear is that organized Buddhism in Mongolia had evolved well beyond concerns of the personal salvation of the monks. In the post-communist world, where the country now boasts a reasonably vibrant democracy, religion has extended to upholding the traditional Mongolian way of life and, equally important, Mongolian nationalism.India enjoys a tremendous goodwill in Mongolia. From today, the Mongolian president, accompanied by the Khamba Lama, is visiting India. Of course, there will be the usual agreements on trade and services — we can be a major market for Mongolia’s evolved cashmere knitwear industry, and they can benefit from India’s information technology services and scholarships to students. However, the soft power linkages between the two civilizations must proceed autonomously. Foreign policy must incorporate a civilizational dimension.

By Swapan Dasgupta

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