China-Mongolia ties enjoy prosperous times

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

By Gu Jianjun, post doctorate of Central Compilation and Translation Bureau
The first China-Mongolia Expo has been held in Hohhot, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region from October 23 to 27 with an attendance of 8,000 delegates from China, Mongolia, Russia and Malaysia. The Expo will serve as an important platform to improve economic cooperation and cultural exchange between China and Mongolia. 
Mongolia is a special neighboring country to the north of China. It used to belong to China, and later Ulaanbator established diplomatic ties with Beijing in 1949. Bilateral relations were further normalized in 1989. The recent years have witnessed deepening political mutual trust, closer trade and economic cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
China-Mongolia ties have been lifted to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2011. In August 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the nation. 
Deepening economic cooperation
China has long been Mongolia's largest trade partner and foreign investment source. In 2013, bilateral trade volume reached 5.96 billion US dollars, accounting for more than half of Mongolia’s total foreign trade volume. 
Until the end of 2013, China's accumulated investment in Mongolia stood at 2.56 billion US dollars. 
Mongolia is an inland country with a small population, vast land and rich in natural resources. As the second largest economic entity in the world, China remains in the industrialization and urbanization stage. 
Sharing complementary economic structures, Beijing and Ulaanbator are considering to open a free trade zone. 
The China-Mongolia Expo can serve as a platform to improve economic cooperation and cultural exchanges. 
The expo could boost cooperation among northeast Asian nations at large as well.
Stronger comprehensive strategic partnership
Adjoining Russia and China, Mongolia holds an important geo-strategy value due to its lucrative exploration of copper, gold mines, coal and uranium mines. 
Additionally, Mongolia plays an important role in China’s Silk Road strategy. 
When China and the former Soviet Union confronted each other, Mongolia was controlled by the Soviet Union and allowed nearly 150 thousands Soviet Union army troops to station near the China-Mongolia border. 
Yet currently, Ulaanbator has refrained from engaging in unnecessary international disputes. Mongolians encourage more cooperation with China to develop their economy. 
Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj proposed for his nation to become a permanent neutralized state on Sept. 7, 2015. In a speech at the United Nations on Sept. 29, he emphasized that Mongolia's permanent neutrality can promote the peace, security and prosperity of the world and asked for international support. 
A good neighbor is better than a brother far away. Beijing endorses a neutral, prosperous and stable Mongolia. 
Due to joint efforts on both sides, the cooperation in terms of politics, trade, culture, education, military and humanity between both nations are enjoying prosperous times. 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )
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New Church Added in Inner Mongolia, “Life Well” Turns into “Salvation Well”

the-dedication
The Dedication : The Dedication Ceremony(credit: China CCC&TSPM)
A new church held a dedication ceremony in Baoertaolegai (the location where the No. 5 regiment of Inner Mongolia Production and Construction Corps lies), Dengkou County, Bayan Nur, Inner Mongolia Province. Over two hundred church representatives from local churches of Bayan Nur came to attend the ceremony on Oct. 23.
"Baoertaolegai" in Mongolian means "barren land." Baoertaolegai sits in the western most part of Bayan Nur. It is located in the Wulanbuhe Desert, in the middle of the Hetao Plain and the western Gobi Desert. It has a sparse population with a few kilometers of desert. However, Baoertaolegai is a famous place for its the hinterland of Wulanbuhe Desert and is on the way to the Silk Way. There is a site of "life well" where the business caravans would definitely stay and rest while getting enough water so that they could pass the vast desert. Nowadays, in this remote desert town, God has created  a miracle in the place of "life well."
Early in 1994, the gospel of Jesus Christ was preached here. After twenty years of effort, there are already 57 Christians who are scattered in the area of 500 square kilometers. In 2013, being zealous, they picked stones and old bricks during the slack season. In 2014 they started to build the church with 137 square meters. This year they decorated the church "luxuriously" together, offering the new holy temple’s inside and outside to God.
After learning the history, all the Christians blessed this church, "May the glory of the temple be larger than before, may the called 'the source of living water' irrigate the desert like a drought needing water, may the Lord add to the number daily those who are being saved. Amen!"

Source:http://chinachristiandaily.com/
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Mongolia Rapid-Bus System Set to Begin in 2017, ADB Says

A modern bus system aimed at tackling traffic and air pollution problems in Mongolia’s capital could begin operating as soon as 2017, according to the Asian Development Bank. 
The Manila-based lender will provide $218 million over the next six to nine years for roads and bridges along several Bus Rapid Transit corridors in Ulaanbaatar, Ki-Joon Kim, a senior transport specialist at the Asian Development Bank’s East Asia Department, said in an e-mail Tuesday. The money will fund 64.5 kilometers (41 miles) of bus corridors, he said.
A rapid-bus system works like a surface subway, operating on dedicated lanes and making stops at platforms raised to the height of the bus floor. Their cost has made them popular alternatives to subways in developing countries such as Indonesia, India and Colombia.  
A detailed design for the system will be ready by the end of 2016 under the projected timeline, according to Kim. Construction will start in spring 2017, with one corridor to be completed by October 2017, he said.

Downtown Access

Taking cars off the road both eases traffic and can help reduce air pollution in a city already facing high levels of smog. Tailpipe emissions and dust kicked up by cars account for as much as 25 percent of Ulaanbaatar’s air pollution, Kim said. 
Pollution is especially bad in winter, when many of the 180,000 families living in slum areas called ger districts heat their homes with raw or semi-processed coal. In the city’s northern neighborhoods, daily average levels of particulate matter below 2.5 microns can exceed 270, according to agaar.mn, a pollution monitoring website. Levels over 200 are considered very unhealthy by most international standards. 
The rapid bus system can reduce transportation pollutants by 18%, at a construction cost of $1 million to $5 million per kilometer, the ADB said.
Kim said he expects 10 percent to 20 percent of drivers who live or work along the planned route to switch to the bus system. That could make a difference in a city where the number of registered vehicles had reached 480,000 at the end of May from 80,000 in 2006, according to ADB figures.
The ADB approved an initial loan of $60 million in May to begin construction while the government provided $10 million. An additional $1.5 million in grants will come from the Global Environment Fund for improving emission standards. 

Source:Bloomberg
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Kazakh-Mongolian Poet to Take Part in Second Int’l Literary Festival in Almaty

ASTANA – The second Polifonia International Literary Festival will take place Oct. 29 – Nov. 1 in Almaty. Kazakh authors and foreign guests will participate in lectures, roundtables and master classes, as well as perform for professional writers and for those who are interested in literature. One of the guests will be Bakhytgul Zarkumar, an ethnic Kazakh who lives and works in Mongolia.
Zarkumar, litfest.kz
Bakhytgul Zarkumar. Photo: litfest.kz
Poet and translator Zarkumar was born in 1974 in Ulaanbaatar. She is a winner of several poetry contests, including one among Kazakh poets living in Mongolia. She is a holder of the gold medal of the Union of Mongolian Youth. She writes poems in the Kazakh and Mongolian languages and translates Mongolian and Russian poets into Kazakh.
She says she was inspired by the atmosphere of Mongolian life and was filled with it since her childhood. “Mongolia is where Genghis Khan was born, the place of pristine nature, endless sky and the proud peaks of the Altai. In general, Mongolian nomadic poetry conveys the free spirit of the people. It is an energetic folk poetry with a strong foundation. It is no accident that Kazakh and Mongolian poetry have much in common. Our peoples have a similar way of life, a common past,” said Zarkumar in an interview on the official website of the festival.
The young author has also created a Facebook community – The poetry of Mongolian Kazakhs – where she also posts her translations of modern authors. She started writing poetry at a young age.
Later she became interested in translating. She said she was inspired by Russian poet Marina Tsvetayeva. Later she discovered other Russian authors, including Sergei Yesenin, Konstantin Batyushkov and Nika Turbina.
Zarkuman admits that all her works have a lyrical element. “My poems are my life. I cannot write about feelings I have not experienced. The poet must be honest with himself. If not, it is ridiculous to wait for honesty and understanding from others. In general, I think that the work of any writer grows out of personal experiences,” she stated.
The main aim of the Polifonia Festival is to promote reading and the development of Kazakhstan’s book publishing and literature, as well the formation of a high-quality literary space in the country. As a result of last year’s festival, works of Kazakh writers have gone to Russia, Europe, Southeast and Central Asia. The visitors had the opportunity to get acquainted with the works of writers, philologists and translators of those regions. The event is organised by the Almaty Open Literary School with the support of the City Department of Culture and Almadeniet Public Fund.

Source:http://astanatimes.com/
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Three Ethnic Mongolians Face Trial Amid Ongoing Dispute Over Land

inner-mongolia-herders-protest-hohhot-jan26-2015.jpg
Herders demand the return of their grazing lands in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, Jan. 26, 2015.
(Photo courtesy of SMHRIC)
Chinese authorities in the troubled northern region of Inner Mongolia are set to try three ethnic Mongolian activists who tried to defend local communities' access to local forestry land, local activists said on Monday.

Shiicayulit, Baobaozhu, and Chuangjiang face formal charges of "obstructing official business" after police in the region's Jarud banner (a county-like division) passed their cases to the state prosecution service.

The three activists were among 26 protesters detained by police in Jarud's Gahait township earlier this year amid an ongoing dispute over 5,000 mu (333 hectares) of land grabbed from them by local officials.

Local residents say the Tarabolig village party secretary and chairman of the village committee have been running the village like their own private fiefdom, after selling off and exploiting the land without consulting local people two decades ago.

"There were clashes with a neighboring village over the land dispute, and the conflict is intensifying," Tarabolig resident Saihan told RFA.

"On July 11, around 20 or 30 people went to complain outside the government's gates, and ... [the authorities] sent in the police to beat them up," Saihan said.

"Then they took them away and held them in detention," Saihan said. "There are three people who weren't released, and I heard their cases have been sent to the procuratorate [for indictment]."

Driven from their land


Meanwhile, a Tarabolig villager now resident in Japan told RFA that the party secretary took over the land and cut down the timber trees that were planted there.

"Some of it was sold to other people, while some if it he used to grow his own crops," he said.

"We have complained about this to the banner government but they won't do anything about it."

He said local people were driven off their land by people who "came from elsewhere and cut the trees down."

A third local resident, ethnic Mongolian Lin Shuangbao, said the land in question had been leased to local people for forestry purposes by the banner government in 1994, and had been illegally taken away from them.

"They detained 26 people [on July 11] and there are still three people in detention; they say it's for obstructing official business," Lin said.

Calls to the Tarabolig village government offices rang unanswered during office hours on Monday.

'Modernization'

The New York-based rights group Southern Mongolian Human Rights and Information Center (SMHRIC) estimates that at least 160,000 ethnic Mongolians have been forcibly evicted from traditional grazing lands in recent decades, adding that the true number is likely to be far higher than that in official media reports.

Many evictions and land grabs take place in remote areas, and are never reported in the media, SMHRIC said.

According to SMHRIC, the land grabs, often by Chinese mining and forestry companies, are encouraged by the government, which has a policy of "modernizing" the region.

"Using the slogan of 'helping to modernize ethnic Mongolian’s backward primitive culture,' the forced eviction of ethnic Mongolians is really intended to complete the Chinese government’s long-term goal of eliminating the ethnic Mongolian population and traditional culture," the group said in a report on its website.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.
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Promise of Mongolia Mining Boom Lures Consumer Brands

Burger King has opened its first store in landlocked and sparsely populated Mongolia, joining companies from Pizza Hut to Porsche in anticipating an economic boom from the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine.
Sandwiched between China and Russia, Mongolia has long been dependent on mining and animal herding and still has no McDonald's or Starbucks. But it has begun to see an influx of foreign fast food and other brands. KFC came in 2013, then Pizza Hut last year, and now the world's second-largest burger chain.
The interest in the country of 3 million people comes despite a deep deceleration in growth rates to about 3 percent in the first half of this year from 17.5 percent earlier in the decade. However, after years of deadlock over taxes and royalties, a deal reached in May between the government and mining giant Rio Tinto over the $5.4 billion Oyu Tolgoi mine could help spur renewed growth.
"Now is a good time to be coming in," said Jim Dwyer, executive director of the Business Council of Mongolia.
On the edge of Chinggis Square in the capital Ulaanbaatar, luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Ermenegildo Zegna already have set up boutiques. While these stores are largely empty now, they and others are banking that better times will come.
International car brands that have trickled into Mongolia include Volkswagen and BMW. Porsche opened a showroom in Ulaanbaatar in February with models ranging in price from $70,000 to $300,000.
Jason Broome, in charge of Porsche's Mongolia business, said the local franchise now serves 30 customers.
Burger King has partnered with Mongolian franchisee, Max Group, one of the country's largest conglomerates, engaged in mining, food and beverage, agriculture and real estate. Meal prices range from about $2.5 to $5.5, less than 1 percent of the average monthly salary of $734.
Media company worker Banzragch brought his son to the launch of the Burger King store because he remembered sampling the chain's food overseas and being happy with both the taste and the price.
"Even during harder economic times like now, the price is reasonable," Banzragch, who gave only one name, said at the outlet that opened earlier this month in a busy commercial district of Ulaanbaatar.
Max Group President Ganbaatar Dagvadorj said it plans to open 10 Burger Burge stores in Ulaanbaatar and then expand elsewhere in the country.
"By bringing Burger King here, we are providing jobs for hundreds of people and looking to expand it to employ thousands," Ganbaatar said.
Also at the launch was student Nyamdavaa, who said she first went to a Burger King while studying in France. "It tastes as good here as it did there," she said.
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ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia — Oct 26, 2015, 2:23 AM ET
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China, Russia, Mongolia Agree to Expand Cross-Border Tourism

Beijing, Oct 25 (Prensa Latina) China, Russia and Mongolia signed cooperation agreements today on cross-border tourism in order to boost the construction of an economic corridor between the three countries.
A dozen cooperation projects, worth 1.4 billion Yuan (220 million dollars) were signed by government authorities and companies in the first China-Mongolia Expo in Hohhot, capital of the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia, north of this territory.

The initiatives include the development of cross-border tourist itineraries and training of tourism personnel and the building of hotels.

This trilateral cooperation plan also comprises a route connecting Hohhot, Ulan Bator, Ulan-Ude and Irkutsk.

The cross-border tourism is an important part and is a significant platform of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor, stated the director of the Tourism Administration of Inner Mongolia, Wei Guonan. In 2014, Inner Mongolia received 810,000 tourists from Mongolia and 630,000 Russians, according to data of the government institution.
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A photography trip to Mongolia's Gobi Desert

It's not until I'm right in the thick of it, trekking through the lush green Eagle Valley in Mongolia's southern Gobi Desert, that I realise the truth. I am a terrible photographer.
This comes as a shock. People had always told me my travel snaps were great, hadn't they? They had lots of likes on Facebook. That was why I'd invested in a small but capable camera earlier in the year. That was why, when the opportunity to spend 12 days on a photography trip travelling through the wilds of Mongolia with creative holiday company Frui​ arose, I jumped at it.
But now that I'm here, surrounded by a dozen serious photographers, I'm suddenly acutely aware of how lacklustre my photos are compared with theirs, and how completely befuddled I am by words like "ISO", "shutter speed" and "aperture". As we hike across a brook, I fall into step with Simon Tupper, the blond-haired, blue-eyed English photography tutor, and put it to him bluntly: Why are my photos so terrible?
Saddled camels rest in the sand of the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.
123rf
Saddled camels rest in the sand of the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.
"Don't worry," he chuckles. "Mongolia's known for its epic landscapes but they can often end up looking flat and boring unless you add some foreground interest to give them a sense of scale." He helps me practise as we walk through rumpled fields upholstered with purple flowers, and I instantly notice a difference.
A picnic lunch awaits us at the end of the pass, and when we're done we jump into four ex-Russian military vans – our transport for the next 10 days – and travel for a bumpy five hours across dozens of kilometres of steppe. En route we stop to photograph romantic vistas dotted with wild horses, herds of sheep and goats, and Bactrian camels with comically flaccid humps.
When we arrive in Khongoryn Els, we venture out to some of Mongolia's most spectacular sand dunes to shoot their sculptural waves at sunset, before heading back to our ger (the Mongolian version of a yurt) camp for a vodka-soaked feast and slide show of the day's images – most of which look like they belong on the cover of National Geographic. I pretend to have accidentally erased my embarrassing shots off my memory card.
A young boy pictured at a ger camp.
123rf
A young boy pictured at a ger camp.
The next morning we rise earlyto ride a group of loping Bactrian camels across the dunes. It's exhilarating and uncomfortable but the real highlight comes when we return that afternoon to visit, in their ger, the nomadic family who own the camel herd.
Mongolia is a land steeped in rituals and etiquette, and it can be horribly easy to offend someone. So after a lesson on etiquette from our guides Tuya and Duuya (enter the ger with your right leg first; never ask a nomad how many animals are in his herd; never say thank you when you're offered food or drink), we try our best to get things right and not to bring shame on our group. We're offered yak cheese, airag​ (fermented mare's milk, an acquired taste), snuff and vodka, and learn to play the "finger game", the addictive Mongolian version of rock, paper, scissors. Afterwards we listen to the family, dressed in their traditional deel-embroidered tunics, sing haunting Mongolian folk songs, then politely ask if we can practise our portrait photography on them. They're willing subjects, especially since we've now developed a relationship with them,  something Tupper believes is the key to taking a good portrait shot. He shows us how to make sure our subjects are in the best light, and how to use the background of their ger and the camel-pocked landscape to give the shot context.
From here we drive east across the arid steppe towards Bayanzag​, stopping to hike a mountain covered with ancient rock carvings of horses mounted by fierce warriors, huge rams with curled horns and Bactrian camels. When we arrive at our ger camp for the evening, we take a quick archery lesson, pulling back the Mongolian composite bows and imagining what it must have been like to be one of Genghis Khan's fierce archers, before we're bundled back into the vans and driven to the Flaming Cliffs. Tupper gives us tips on how to adjust our ISO (which by now I understand is what controls how sensitive your camera is to light), and we practise shooting the monolithic red sandstone formations and hear tales of how the world's first dinosaur eggs were discovered here in the 1920s.
About one third of Mongolia's 2.8 million people are nomads living in traditional round felt tents called ger.
CLARO CORTES IV
About one third of Mongolia's 2.8 million people are nomads living in traditional round felt tents called ger.
In true nomadic spirit, we're on the move again early the next morning, driving to the Ongiin Khiid​ temple complex in Central Mongolia. Before communism, the Mongolians were Buddhists and Shamanists but during the communist regime the Prime Minister,  Khorloogiin Choibalsan, tried to suppress the faith, instigating the notorious purges that swept across Mongolia from the end of the 1930s. Thousands of Buddhist monks were killed and 800 monasteries destroyed, including Ongiin Khiid, formerly one of the largest monasteries in the country. We head out to shoot it in the gentle afternoon light, and Tupper suggests we use our black-and-white settings.
Looking at our group's images during our nightly post-dinner drinks and photography slide show (which I've finally started contributing to since realising what a fantastic learning opportunity they are), the results speak for themselves.
The most important lesson of our journey, however, comes that afternoon when we're stopped at a remote – at first glance hideously unattractive – town for a couple of hours as our drivers refuel the vans. Rather than sitting on the kerb willing the time away, Tupper suggests we head out and take some shots that challenge Mongolian stereotypes.
"It's important not to perpetuate the myths of a destination so people don't get stuck in the cycle of producing postcard shots that don't represent the destination in its true essence," he says. And he's right. As I amble through the village, I photograph storm clouds gathered over a turquoise Soviet-era building, a local clad in a deel sleeping over his motorbike handlebars, and a tiny smooth-faced child in a Spiderman T-shirt playing in the dirt.
Close to 40 per cent of Mongolia's population still live as nomadic shepherds, and for the next two nights we're treated to an intimate insight into their lives as we head to the Orkhon Valley to stay with a nomadic family and their four children.
We arrive in the valley dotted with larch trees, yaks and wild horses, and are immediately set to work. First we help the family erect one of the gers they've borrowed from their neighbours for our stay. The result is simple yet cosy, and can all be packed back up again on a yak's back in one hour when the weather gets colder and the family move to their winter camp.
The following day we help the family milk their mares, sew a tiny blue silk deel for their baby, and assist in the gruesome task of slaughtering a goat for dinner. We ride into the wilderness on their horses, and spend the evening drinking yak vodka and singing folk songs around a bonfire, before Tupper gives us a night photography lesson under a star-soaked sky.
Our arrival in the northern Orkhon Valley coincides with the Tsaidam naadam​, or horse festival.
It's the perfect location for a lesson on the "decisive moment", a phrase the godfather of street photography Henri Cartier-Bresson used to express what photography does best – freeze a potent but fleeting moment for eternity.
Our final evening in the Mongolian wilderness is spent at the vast and beautiful Ogii Lake.  That evening, when it's time for show and tell, a sense of pride rather than embarrassment swells in my chest when my image of a horse rearing its glossy head up into the blue sky is flicked up on the projector.
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N. Korea looking to import meat from Mongolia

North Korea is looking to expand its food trading partners by importing meat from Mongolia, according to local media reports.
A North Korean adviser to the Ambassador met with Mongolia’s Head of General Agency for Specialized Inspection Sh. Radnaased to discuss the issue this week.
“I am pleased that DPRK expresses interest in meat import and cooperation with us, and we are willing to provide necessary assistance such as supplying an information related to the veterinary quarantine and hygiene,” Radnaased said in comments carried by mongolia.gogo.
North Korea still struggles with food security, with its agriculture sector unable to produce sufficient protein, according to a 2013 report UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Recent NK News analysis on Chinese data also showed that North Korea is importing less food from its neighbor this year.
“Recently, when North Korea import products, commercial products including TVs are becoming more important. The importance of food including cereals is decreasing compared to before,” Choi Yongho, research fellow at the Korea Rural Economic Institute told NK News.
“In addition, I suppose as the standard of living increases, the demand of meat … also gets higher,” he added.
The news comes as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe brought up North Korea during his second state visit to Mongolia during his tenure.
During his trip Abe asked Mongolia to help with solving the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea.
According to the NK News‘ KCNA Watch data tool, North Korea and Mongolia exchanged numerous delegations over the past year and signed a memorandum of understanding in April.
Despite the increasing interactions, the ITC Trade Map shows limited trade between the two countries. The majority of North Korean exports to Mongolia throughout 2014 appear to be unspecified pharmaceutical products.
The two countries are also looking to cooperate on Mongolian coal exports, using North Korea’s Rason port.  Mongolia has a thriving coal industry, but its lack of coastline and undeveloped rail infrastructure limit its export options.
Additional reporting by Hyunbi Park

Source:http://www.nknews.org/
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ADB, Japan Extend $2 Million For Education, Health Services

 The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Finance signed on October 23 two technical assistance grant agreements for  $2 million to help Mongolia increase access to health services for disadvantaged groups and quality education services. 
The grants are being provided by the the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction—a financing facility set up by the Government of Japan in 2000 to provide relief and support to the poorest communities—and will be administered by ADB. First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan, Fukasawa Hiroshi, was witness at the signing ceremony. 
$1 million will go to support the management and rollout of ongoing education reforms aimed at addressing equitability issues in the sector, and another $1 million will go to help increase access to health services for disadvantaged groups living in ger areas in Ulaanbaatar. 
“Mongolia has made significant strides in improving the accessibility of its health and education services, but there are still constraints facing some groups and this assistance will help the government ensure quality services are made available to those in need,” said Sangay Penjor, Director of the Urban and Social Sectors Division in ADB’s East Asia Department. 
The education assistance will boost the capacity of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Institute of Education, sector reform teams, education departments and laboratory schools in nine districts of Ulaanbaatar and six aimags (Dundgovi, Khentii, Khuvsgol, Orkhon, Uvs and Zavkhan) to carry out municipal, aimag and national level research on school factors which influence equity of access to quality education. It will also develop measures to enhance equity of access to quality education, according to ADB.
The health grant will help increase the availability of primary and hospital health services to meet growing needs in ger areas of Ulaanbaatar city. This will be followed up in a later ADB-assisted project to build 10 additional family health centers and establish district hospitals in ger areas. The project will also improve the social health insurance system to increase access to services. 
The education technical assistance project will be carried out over 2 years through to July 2017, while the health project has an estimated completion date of August 2016. 
In Mongolia, ADB-approved assistance totaled $218.8 million in 2014, including 4 sovereign loans of $168.5 million; nonsovereign loans of $40 million; and 15 technical assistance grants totaling $10.31 million.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.

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Expo to improve China-Mongolia cooperation: Xi

HOHHOT, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The first China-Mongolia Expo will serve as an important platform to improve economic cooperation and cultural exchange between China and Mongolia, President Xi Jinping said in a letter sent to the expo, which opened on Friday.
The expo will help promote China-Mongolia relations to a higher level, and will also improve cooperation among northeast Asian nations at large, the president said.
China highly values the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, and is ready to integrate China's "Belt and Road" initiative with Mongolia's Steppe Road plan based on mutual respect, benefit, and win-win cooperation, Xi said.
In his congratulatory letter, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj also lauded the role the expo will play to bilateral pragmatic cooperation and the Mongolia-China comprehensive strategic partnership.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong said at the opening ceremony, that recent years have witnessed deepening political mutual trust, closer trade and economic cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
The biennial event is the biggest exchange program between the two countries in recent years. Delegates from China, Mongolia, Russia and Malaysia attended the expo in Hohhot, capital city of China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
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Abe reaches engineering, economic agreements with Turkmenistan, Mongolia

Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg (right) presents a hand-knitted cashmere portrait of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (center) and his wife, Akie (left), to the couple in Ulan Bator on Thursday. | AFP-JIJI
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov agreed Friday to cooperate on infrastructure development and natural gas plant projects totaling ¥2.2 trillion in the resource-rich Central Asian country.
Abe and Berdimuhamedov also agreed to urge North Korea to follow United Nations Security Council resolutions banning the development of nuclear weapons, and affirmed tie-ups in human resources development in Turkmenistan for advanced industries using Japanese-style engineering education, according to a joint statement issued after their meeting in Ashgabat, the capital.
Given that Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves, the leaders welcomed participation by Japanese companies in building gas processing and chemicals plants, the statement said.
With Turkmenistan the source of more than half of China’s natural gas imports, the country aims to diversify exports through the advanced processing of gas, especially at a time when prices have slumped.
Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to visit Turkmenistan. He is on the second leg of a six-nation, weeklong tour that will also take him to four other Central Asian states.
Observers say the trip is intended to counter China’s growing influence in the resource-rich region with its economic might.
On Thursday evening, Abe visited Mongolia and agreed with Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg to advance economic cooperation between the two countries on the back of a free trade agreement signed earlier this year.
Speaking at a joint news conference in Ulan Bator, Saikhanbileg said Mongolia completed legal procedures the same day, paving the way for the FTA, signed in February, to take effect possibly this coming spring.
Abe welcomed the move, saying Japan “would like to cooperate for Mongolia’s development.” The Japanese government won Diet approval for the FTA during the regular Diet session that ended last month.
Saikhanbileg said he and Abe also agreed to cooperate on infrastructure development in Mongolia, including developing the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, a major project in the country’s south.
Referring to bilateral security cooperation, Abe said he won Mongolia’s backing for greater overseas roles for the Self-Defense Forces under new security laws.
Abe called for continued strategic dialogue involving the two countries and the United States.
“Sharing basic values, Japan and Mongolia are important strategic partners,” he said.
Given that Mongolia has diplomatic relations with North Korea, Abe asked for Ulan Bator’s cooperation in addressing Pyongyang’s abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.
The abduction issue has prevented Japan and North Korea from normalizing diplomatic relations.
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China, Mongolia kick off culture week

HOHHOT, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- A culture week between China and Mongolia began Thursday in Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The event is the biggest cultural exchange program between the two countries in recent years, according to the organizer.
More than 1,000 artists from China, Mongolia and Russia will perform over the next six days, including 56 Mongolian dance performances.
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Japan, Mongolia affirm closer economic ties via free trade pact

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg agreed Thursday to advance economic cooperation between the two countries on the back of a free trade agreement signed earlier this year.
Speaking at a joint news conference in Ulan Bator, Saikhanbileg said Mongolia completed legal procedures the same day, paving the way for the FTA, signed in February, to take effect possibly this coming spring.
Abe welcomed the move, saying Japan “would like to cooperate for Mongolia’s development.” The Japanese government won parliamentary approval for the FTA during a regular Diet session that ended last month.
Japan’s increased economic cooperation with Mongolia appears to be aimed at countering China’s rising clout in the country, especially when Mongolia’s economy — heavily dependent on the mining industry — has been facing difficulties due to slumping natural resource prices.
Saikhanbileg said he and Abe also agreed to cooperate on infrastructure development in Mongolia, including developing the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, a major project in the country’s south.
Referring to bilateral security cooperation, Abe said he won Mongolia’s backing for a greater role by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces abroad under new security laws.
Abe called for continued strategic dialogue involving the two countries and the United States.
“Sharing basic values, Japan and Mongolia are important strategic partners,” he said.
Given that Mongolia has diplomatic relations with North Korea, Abe asked for Ulan Bator’s cooperation in addressing Pyongyang’s abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.
The abduction issue has prevented Japan and North Korea from normalizing diplomatic relations.
Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to visit Mongolia twice while in office. He last traveled to Mongolia in March 2013.
After holding separate talks with Saikhanbileg and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Abe departed for Turkmenistan on the second leg of a six-nation tour that will also take him to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
Some experts argue the weeklong trip is apparently intended to counter the growing influence of China, with its economic might, in the resource-rich region.
Abe will become the first Japanese prime minister to visit all five Central Asian countries.
In August 2006, then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi traveled to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
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Mongolia signs MoU with visiting Japanese PM

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation between Mongolia and Japan to build a Russia-bound railway from a large coal mine in Mongolia's Gobi desert was signed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's four-hour visit to the land-locked nation on Monday.
Mongolia's Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren said that by December this year, Japan will complete a bankable feasibility study of building a 455-km railway from a large coal mine in Mongolia's Gobi desert to Sainshand, the Mongolian railway town along the country's only railway.
During the visit, both sides expressed their satisfaction with expanding the strategic partnership between the two countries in the political, social and economic areas and discussed technology transfer, increasing private sector cooperation and investment and developing mutually beneficial trade and economic relations.
Mongolian Parliament Speaker Zandaakhuu Enkhbold said Mongolia is interested in Japanese investment and introducing Japanese technology and know-how.
The speaker also said Mongolia would like to export its products to Japan, join the regional production network and enhance economic connectivity under the framework of the Mongolian-Japanese Economic Partnership Agreement signed earlier.
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Japan, Mongolia affirm closer economic ties via FTA

ULAN BATOR (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg agreed Thursday to advance economic cooperation with the free trade agreement the two governments signed in February.
     Speaking at a joint news conference with Abe in Ulan Bator, Saikhanbileg said Mongolia completed legal procedures the same day, paving the way for the FTA to take effect possibly in spring next year.
     Abe welcomed the move, saying Japan "would like to cooperate for Mongolia's development." The Japanese government won parliamentary approval for the FTA during a regular Diet session that ended last month.
     Japan's increased economic cooperation with Mongolia appears to be aimed at countering China's rising clout in the country, especially when Mongolia's economy -- heavily dependent on the mining industry -- has been facing difficulties due to slumping natural resource prices.
     Saikhanbileg said he and Abe also agreed to cooperate in infrastructure development in Mongolia, including development of the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, a major project in southern part of the country.
     Referring to bilateral security cooperation, Abe said he won Mongolia's backing for a greater role by Japan's Self-Defense Forces abroad under new security laws.
     Abe called for continued strategic dialogue involving the two countries and the United States.
     "Sharing basic values, Japan and Mongolia are important strategic partners," he said.
     Given that Mongolia has diplomatic relations with North Korea, Abe asked Ulan Bator's cooperation in addressing Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.
     The abduction issue has prevented Japan and North Korea from normalizing diplomatic relations.
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Mongolia considers austerity as China commodity demand plummets

Mongolia's finance minister is pushing for passage of austerity measures in the face of a budget shortfall this year of more than 4% caused by falling exports to China and compounded by a concomitant fall in commodity prices, Bloomberg reported. China took in 88% of Mongolian exports in 2014, but export revenue from China trade fell 17% in the first nine months of the year as coal, oil and iron oil fell 32%, 41% and 48%, respectively. The country's reliance on China exports has been blamed in part on a 2012 law that ratcheted up restrictions on foreign investment--passed in response to Aluminum Corp. of China's bid to buy a Mongolian coal mining outfit.
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Indonesia, Mongolia vow to enhance bilateral ties

JAKARTA, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia and Mongolia has set a joint commission to enhance bilateral ties and strengthen cooperations in various sectors.
Senior Indonesian and Mongolian officials met here on Wednesday to inaugurate the initial Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), paving the way for the two nations to see closer bilateral ties and cooperation in various sectors.
The JCBC of Indonesia and Mongolia was jointly inaugurated by Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister A.M. Fachir and Mongolia State Secretary Damba Gankhuyag in Indonesian foreign Affairs Ministry's premises.
During the meeting, the two senior officials discussed efforts on strengthening bilateral cooperation in several sectors that comprising democracy enhancement, human rights issue, good governance and rule of law, defense and security, economy and trade, agriculture, social culture as well as regional and international cooperation.
The establishment of JCBC was ultimately aimed at digging up the opportunities to further nurture the bilateral relations.
The two nations agreed to conduct reciprocal visits of their senior officials that eventually to improve cooperation enhancement in eradicating terrorism, human trafficking and transnational organized crime.
In economy and trade sector, the two nations agreed to improve economic ties through cooperation enhancement that would be carried out through trade exhibition and investment improvement.
Indonesia and Mongolia saw continuing growths in their two-way trade in the last three years, from 6.59 million U.S. dollars in 2012 to 20.78 million U.S. dollars in 2013 and 23.6 million U.S. dollars in 2014.
The two nations also agreed to enhance cooperation in agriculture sector by encouraging their ministries to improve mutually beneficial cooperation in veterinary and quarantine and market access promotion for agricultural products.
In social and culture sector, the two nations agreed to further improve people-to-people contact and tourism.
Indonesia- Mongolia diplomatic relation was established in 1956. Indonesian president visited Mongolia in 2012, initiated a new phase of the two nations' bilateral relations.
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Japanese PM Abe to visit Mongolia

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Mongolia and five Central Asian countries for seven days from Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday.
This will be Abe’s first overseas trip since the inauguration of his new Cabinet earlier this month.
He will first go to Mongolia and then travel to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in that order, to hold talks with leaders of the six countries.
“Mongolia is an important regional partner that shares the same values with Japan,” Suga told a press conference.
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