Japan, Mongolia to discuss economic pact: Nikkei

Reuters

The Japanese government has decided on plans to begin talks with Mongolia next spring to discuss an economic partnership, the Nikkei business daily reported.

Japan, which aims to reduce its reliance on China for rare earths, is eager to enter into such a partnership because of Mongolia's rich reserves of rare earth metals and uranium, the paper said.

The countries will target having an agreement signed in 2012 to take effect the following year, the Nikkei said, adding with the pact, Japan will become the first country with which Mongolia negotiates a bilateral economic partnership.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who visits Japan next week, are expected to discuss an economic partnership on November 19, the daily said.

The two sides began their prospects for an economic partnership in June, will wrap this up next March and subsequently jump into full-fledged talks, the Nikkei said.

Mongolia, whose uranium reserves ranked No. 15 as of 2007 based on International Atomic Energy Agency statistics, has an overall estimated total reserves of 1.4 million tons, among the largest in the world, the daily said.
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