MONGOLIA’S GRAND PRIX MAESTRO URANTSETSEG MUNKHBAT WINS SIXTH GOLD

World number three Munkhbat Urantsetseg of Mongolia was back amongst the medals in Abu Dhabi after finishing fifth at the World Championships in September. The former world champion won her first gold medal in 12 months by pinning down Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Distria Krasniqi (KOS) for 20 seconds after initiating a sankaku turnover and was unrelenting in her committed finish to win the first final in the U.A.E.
In the first semi-final Munkhbat submitted London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Csernoviczki Eva (HUN) from a sankaku-gatame hold for ippon. In the second semi-final Olympic champion Paula Pareto (ARG) was disqualified againat Krasniqi after picking up a third shido for a false attack in the closing seconds.

20181027_ijf_fb_abudhabi_action_urantsetseg_munkhbat
The first bronze medal contest was won by Cancun Grand Prix winner Pareto who beat Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Milica Nikolic (SRB) by a waza-ari in golden score. Pareto was the first medallist at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018 as her contest opened the final block and yielded a seventh Grand Slam career medal.  
The second bronze medal was won by former Qingdao Grand Prix winner Li Yanan (CHN) who thwarted Csernoviczki by a waza-ari after 12 seconds of added time. Li grew stronger as the contest went on and claimed victory in golden score in front of China Judo Assocation President and new IJF Hall of Fame member Xian Dongmei.

Source:Judoinside.com


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Former NBA player Bateer elected president of China's Inner Mongolia Basketball Association

HOHHOT, China, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Mengke Bateer, former NBA player who had won an NBA championship ring with the San Antonio Spurs, was unanimously elected president of the Inner Mongolia Basketball Association here on Sunday.
Bateer, 42, took the position at the first general congress of the association, which had halted its business for three decades due to shortage of professional teams and other reasons.
"I came back to my hometown and wanted to do some good to develop basketball," Bateer said. "I will make endeavors to provide an efficient and professional platform for those who love to play basketball," he added.
The regulations of the association were also passed during the congress.
Bateer was born in Ordos of Inner Mongolia in 1975 and began to play in China's national basketball team at 18. He earned the MVP honor at the 2002 CBA All-Star Games.
Bateer joined NBA's Denver Nuggets in 2001 and got an NBA championship ring with the Spurs in 2003, writing a chapter in Chinese basketball history.
He returned to China in 2005, playing for Beijing and Xinjiang in the CBA, and retired in 2015.
Bateer had also acted in movies such as Bodyguards and Assassins, Journey to the West: Demon Chapter and others.
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Mongolian president submits proposal on dissolving parliament

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga has submitted an official letter on dissolving the State Great Khural, or parliament, after financial irregularities by some members of parliament were made public, the president's press office reported Monday.
The proposal was submitted to the speaker of the parliament Miyegombo Enkhbold after reports were made public that some members of the Mongolian parliament and their relatives have obtained a number of loans with low interest rates from a fund which is aimed at developing small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Mongolian parliament and government that formed as a result of 2016's parliamentary election have not fulfilled their promises to the Mongolian people and violated laws and regulations by abusing their powers, the letter read.
"Thus, I believe that the parliament will be no longer allowed to exercise its full powers. The parliament has to reach consensus on the dissolution," it added.
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Mongolia produces 5.12 mln barrels of crude oil so far this year

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia has extracted a total of 5.12 million barrels or 694,000 tons of crude oil from the beginning of the year to Oct. 19, data from the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry showed Friday.
Of these, 4.83 million barrels or 655,000 tons were exported to China, according to the data.
The mineral-rich Asian country plans to extract a total of 8.1 million barrels or 1.1 million tons of crude oil this year.
The country has so far implemented 63.19 percent of its extraction plan and 59.57 percent of its export plan.
Currently, there is no oil refinery in Mongolia. The first one in the country is expected to be commissioned in late 2022.
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Blackstone Resources AG Commences Drilling in Mongolia

BAAR, Switzerland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct 26, 2018--Blackstone Resources AG (SWX: BLS; STU: 4BR, FRA: 4BR, BEB: 4BR) is pleased to announce that it has commenced its exploration drilling programme in Mongolia. Up to 2,000 metres will be drilled along the strike extent of where historic data and studies indicate significant resources of molybdenum, copper and gold. It is being carried out across three sites in an area where we hold exploration licenses: Shar Tolgoi, Ar Nuur and Suvanga.
Extensive field work, desk-top studies, geological mapping and geophysical surveys have already taken place. Historical data indicates inferred resources of 0.5 million tonnes of molybdenum.
During the geophysical phase of the prospecting programme, a detailed magnetic survey was carried out across the licensed area. Data from this study will be used to support our historic analysis on where drilling should take place on known areas of resources. These results will also allow us to discover additional resources.
This is an important milestone achievement for Blackstone Resources AG. The results from this drilling programme will be analysed and increase our present knowledge of resources in the area. It will also form part of a detailed feasibility study in the future that will move the project into the production phase.
Blackstone Resources AG
Blackstone Resources is a Swiss Holding Company, with its legal domicile in Baar, Kanton Zug and is concentrating on the battery metals market as primary metals. In addition, it sets up, develops and manages refineries used for gold and battery metals. It offers direct exposure to the battery metal revolution that is being driven by the demand of electric vehicles that need vast quantities of these metals. These include cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, graphite and lithium. In addition, Blackstone Resources has started a research programme on new battery technologies.
For more information please visit www.blackstoneresources.ch
The disclaimer is an integral part of this press release.
Please ensure you consult the disclaimer for a full understanding of the content within:  http://www.blackstoneresources.ch/about-us/disclaimer-press-release/
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CONTACT: Blackstone Resources AG
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KEYWORD: AUSTRIA EUROPE ASIA PACIFIC MONGOLIA GERMANY SWITZERLAND
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Interview: China contributes significantly to Mongolia's infrastructure development: minister

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- China has contributed significantly to Mongolia's infrastructure development and improved people's living conditions by supporting the country's major construction projects, Mongolian Minister of Construction and Urban Development Khavdislam Badyelkhan has said.
Several major projects in Mongolia are being implemented with Chinese soft loans and non-refundable assistance, and they are of great importance to Mongolians, especially residents of the capital Ulan Bator, Badyelkhan told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Bilateral cooperation in the construction and infrastructure sector has been expanded in recent years, Badyelkhan said.
"Projects to renovate Ulan Bator's shantytowns or ger districts and build a waste water processing plant in the city are the most important ones among the China-funded others. These projects are essential to improving Ulan Bator's environment and living conditions of the Mongolian people," Badyelkhan said.
The Mongolian capital is one of the cities in the world which has been affected by "urban ills" such as pollution, overpopulation and traffic congestion due to migration from the countryside to the cities.
Noting that air pollution is the most pressing issue in Ulan Bator where over 800,000 residents, half of the city's population, live in the ger districts, with no running water and central heating or sewerage system, Badyelkhan said two projects to renovate the ger districts with non-refundable aid from the Chinese government are being implemented.
In addition, the Mongolian government is implementing a project with non-refundable aid from the Chinese government to connect about 20,000-30,000 households in 100 locations of Ulan Bator's ger districts to engineering lines by 2020, the minister said.
A waste water processing plant will be built in Ulan Bator with soft loans from the Chinese government, said Badyelkhan.
The minister said the plant will have the capacity to purify 250,000 cubic meters of waste water a day.
"The existing waste water processing plant in Ulan Bator does not have a system of processing silt and waste silt. Heavy metals are dried up outside causing air pollution," he said, stressing that the new project is expected to be completed in 2020 and will help improve the city's environment.
In 2019, Mongolia and China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Badyelkhan said he hoped that the two countries will accelerate joint projects and strengthen ties and cooperation in all sectors on the occasion of this anniversary.
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Mongolia bans Halloween celebrations in all schools

The Mongolian government announced Thursday that all general education schools in the country are no longer allowed to celebrate Halloween.
In recent years, Halloween has been widely celebrated in Mongolia, particularly in general education schools, partly due to the influence of English language learning.
Mongolian parents have been complaining about the celebration, saying it was a Western tradition and contradicts with Mongolia's culture, according to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports.
Halloween is a celebration observed in many countries on Oct. 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day, dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints, martyrs and all the faithful departed. 
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Mongolian leaders meet with senior CPC official

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian Prime Minister and head of the ruling Mongolian People's Party Ukhnaa Khurelsukh met here Tuesday with senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Li Hongzhong.
Li, who is a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Tianjin Municipal Committee, led a CPC delegation on a visit to the East Asian country on Oct. 21-24. Mongolia's Parliament Speaker, Miyegombo Enkhbold, was also present at the Tuesday meeting.
Li said that the CPC and the Chinese government attach great importance to China-Mongolia relations and always place bilateral ties in an important position in China's neighboring diplomacy.
During the state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Mongolia in 2014, China and Mongolia lifted their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership, which has provided the direction for the development of bilateral ties, Li said.
Leaders of the two countries have met several times this year and reached a series of important consensus on deepening China-Mongolia relations, Li said, adding that the two countries have been strengthening their political mutual trust and accelerating the alignment of their development strategies.
China is willing to work together with the Mongolian side to implement the important consensus between their leaders, and jointly promote bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level, he said.
During the meeting, Khurelsukh and Enkhbold spoke highly of China's remarkable achievements made under the CPC leadership with Xi at the core since the 18th CPC National Congress, noting that in recent years, Mongolia-China relations have developed smoothly and bilateral cooperation has yielded fruits in various fields.
They expressed Mongolia's willingness to work with China to consolidate the political foundation of bilateral ties, dovetail their development strategies and promote practical cooperation in various fields so as to better benefit the two peoples.
During the CPC delegation's stay, Li met separately with Mongolia's Deputy Prime Minister Ulziisaikhan Enkhtuvshin, head of the Mongolian cabinet secretariat Gombojav Zandanshatar and chairman of Mongolia's opposition Democratic Party Sodnomzundui Erdene.
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Mongolia launches campaign to increase national saving awareness, financial literacy

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia has launched a campaign to increase national awareness on the importance of savings and the level of financial literacy, local media reported on Tuesday, citing the country's central bank.
The campaign is part of the activities held in the country on the occasion of the World Savings Day, which is celebrated every year on Oct. 31 across the world, the Bank of Mongolia said in a statement.
Under the two-week campaign starting Monday, several related activities will be organized across the country by the central bank in cooperation with commercial banks.
According to data released by the National Statistics Office of Mongolia, only 27 percent of Mongolia's total population have any savings, and 83 percent of those who have savings only have less than a million Mongolian Tugriks (less than 390 U.S. dollars) in their accounts.
Mongolia started marking the World Savings Day across the country since last year.
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Everybody's friend? Ft. Damdin Tsogtbaatar, Mongolia’s minister of foreign affairs

Situated between Russia and China, Mongolia is the world’s most landlocked country. Yet, according to my guest today, this isn’t a strategic weakness, but rather a competitive advantage. How has Mongolia overcome its geographical limitations and can it use that experience to punch above its weight in the geopolitical ring?

Interview with Damdin Tsogtbaatar, Mongolia's minister of foreign affairs by Russia Today, russian news agency
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German defense minister names Mongolian horse 'true friendship' as Asia tour starts

Ursula von der Leyen has kicked off a tour of Asia in Ulaanbaatar, where she didn't look her gift horse in the mouth but did whisper into its ear. She will also head to China, Australia and Bahrain for security talks.

As part of a weeklong Asia tour, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen spent Saturday in Ulaanbaatar, where she visited German soldiers and discussed defense cooperation with Mongolian politicians. She also took part in traditional customs centered around the country's famous horses.

Von der Leyen pets her horse in Mongolia (DW/M. Koschyk)
The stop in Mongolia was the first on a trip that will also take her next to China, followed by Australia and Bahrain. The focus will be on security issues such as cyberattacks, hybrid threats, and the international fight against terrorism, von der Leyen told reporters in Berlin Friday before departing.
"Despite the long distance, the security situation in Asia directly affects Germany," she said. "That is why we must keep up our relationships and orient our policies towards the region."
Special gift, productive meeting

Ursula von der Leyen and Enkhbold stand on stairs surrounded by Mongolian military officials (DW/M. Koschyk)
After landing in the Ulaanbaatar, von der Leyen met with her Mongolian counterpart, Nyamaa Enkhbold, who also gave the German minister a Mongolian horse as an official state gift. In keeping with Mongolian custom, von der Leyen gave the horse a new name, whispering it into the animal's ear. Von der Leyen named the horse Andaa, a Mongolian word for "true friendship."
Horses are very important in Mongolian culture, and ownership is considered a sign of prestige. The country's horse population outnumbers its human one. 

In a joint press conference following talks, von der Leyen praised the long-term military cooperation between Germany and Mongolia, emphasizing their missions in Afghanistan. The two defense ministers signed a technical agreement outlining future cooperation.
Von der Leyen also met with around 40 German soldiers who are stationed in Mongolia to help train the country's forces.
On to China, Australia and Bahrain
On Sunday von der Leyen will be in China, where she will meet with Chinese military officials the next day. She will then head to Australia. She will be present in Sydney on Thursday for the Invictus Games, a sports championship founded by Prince Harry of Britain for wounded, injured or sick armed services members from around the world.
She will finish up her Asia tour in Bahrain, where she will take part in the Manama Dialogue on Middle East security.

Von der Leyen meets with German troops who are training Mongolian soldiers (DW/M. Koschyk)
Von der Leyen met with German troops who are training Mongolian soldiers


Source:Deutche Welle, German TV news agency
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Mongolia may join talks on Korean Peninsula denuclearization — Russian Foreign Ministry

"It cannot be ruled out that Mongolia might enter those consultations at some stage," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. Russia thinks it is possible that Mongolia might enter the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula denuclearization, comprising Russia, China, North and South Korea, the United States and Japan, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said in an interview with TASS.
The restart of negotiations in this format was discussed earlier this week with the US special representative for North Korea, Steven Biegun, he said.


"We make no secret of the fact that we believe it appropriate to restart six-party negotiations. At the same time, we allow for some changes in that format," the diplomat said. "If we speak about a mechanism of peace and security in Northeast Asia, Mongolia is located there and it is part of Northeast Asia, along with participants in the six-party talks."
"It cannot be ruled out that Mongolia might enter those consultations at some stage and then they could become seven-party talks," Morgulov stressed.
The senior diplomat added that Moscow was open for discussion of any options. "The main thing is that consultations should be multilateral engaging all key actors that have real interests in the region and are motivated to maintain stability and peace," he concluded.
The six-party talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which comprise North and South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the United States, were suspended at Pyongyang’s request in 2008.


Source:Russian news agency TASS
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When it comes to North Korean diplomacy, keep an eye on Mongolia

When US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a summit in June, Singapore was chosen as the venue over other ideas that were floated, including Mongolia. Now the landlocked central Asian country could have another shot.
As anticipation for a second Trump-Kim summit later this year mounts, Mongolian president Khaltmaagiin Battulga this week seized the opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations to invite Kim to visit the country. In an interview with Russian media outlet Sputnik, Mongolia’s foreign minister also said that his country was ready to host Trump and Kim if they decide to go ahead with a second summit.
It appears that Mongolia has been working behind the scenes to smooth tensions on the Korean peninsula. Japanese news agency Kyodo reported today (Oct. 19) that a top Japanese intelligence official close to prime minister Shinzo Abe held meetings with senior North Korean officials in Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar earlier this month. According to an unnamed official to Kyodo, the two sides discussed the issue of Pyongyang’s abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s. The issue is a major sticking point for the Abe government, and its insistence on resolving the issue has at times left it sidelined (paywall) in the recent rounds of North Korean diplomacy.
The meeting between Japan and North Korea in Mongolia took place shortly after Abe met with Mongolia’s leader in September in Russia, where the two sides agreed to work together to resolve the abductions issue, according to a report of the meeting by Japan’s foreign ministry. Mongolia has hosted talks on other occasions between Japan and North Korea.
Mongolia is one of the few nations in the world that has maintained consistently friendly relations with Pyongyang, and was the second country to recognize North Korea after the Soviet Union. Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, visited Mongolia twice (the country was ruled by a communist regime at the time). More recently, Mongolia’s former president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj visited Pyongyang in 2013, with the goal of positioning Mongolia (paywall) as a mediator between North Korea and the rest of the world, while presenting itself as a model of economic development for Mongolia to learn from. Elbegdorj also touted the country’s neutrality earlier this year as a reason for why a Trump-Kim summit should be held in Mongolia:
Mongolia’s foreign minister, meanwhile visited North Korea in February.
When US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a summit in June, Singapore was chosen as the venue over other ideas that were floated, including Mongolia. Now the landlocked central Asian country could have another shot.
As anticipation for a second Trump-Kim summit later this year mounts, Mongolian president Khaltmaagiin Battulga this week seized the opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations to invite Kim to visit the country. In an interview with Russian media outlet Sputnik, Mongolia’s foreign minister also said that his country was ready to host Trump and Kim if they decide to go ahead with a second summit.
It appears that Mongolia has been working behind the scenes to smooth tensions on the Korean peninsula. Japanese news agency Kyodo reported today (Oct. 19) that a top Japanese intelligence official close to prime minister Shinzo Abe held meetings with senior North Korean officials in Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar earlier this month. According to an unnamed official to Kyodo, the two sides discussed the issue of Pyongyang’s abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s. The issue is a major sticking point for the Abe government, and its insistence on resolving the issue has at times left it sidelined (paywall) in the recent rounds of North Korean diplomacy.
The meeting between Japan and North Korea in Mongolia took place shortly after Abe met with Mongolia’s leader in September in Russia, where the two sides agreed to work together to resolve the abductions issue, according to a report of the meeting by Japan’s foreign ministry. Mongolia has hosted talks on other occasions between Japan and North Korea.
Mongolia is one of the few nations in the world that has maintained consistently friendly relations with Pyongyang, and was the second country to recognize North Korea after the Soviet Union. Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, visited Mongolia twice (the country was ruled by a communist regime at the time). More recently, Mongolia’s former president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj visited Pyongyang in 2013, with the goal of positioning Mongolia (paywall) as a mediator between North Korea and the rest of the world, while presenting itself as a model of economic development for Mongolia to learn from. Elbegdorj also touted the country’s neutrality earlier this year as a reason for why a Trump-Kim summit should be held in Mongolia:
Mongolia’s foreign minister, meanwhile visited North Korea in February.

Source:https://qz.com
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Mongolia intensifies fight against corruption in education sector

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia's Independent Agency Against Corruption (IAAC) will intensify its fight against corruption in the education sector, an official of the country's top anti-corruption agency said Friday.
"Recently, we have started carrying out an extensive campaign to curb corruption in the education sector. Furthermore, we will more intensify our efforts to totally eliminate corruption in this sector," Tuvshinsaikhan Bayarkhuu, head of the prevention and enlightenment department at the IAAC, said in a monthly regular press conference.
Under the campaign, director of School No.1 in Ulan Bator Gendenjamts Bum-Erdene was arrested two weeks ago while taking a large amount of bribes from a parent who wanted to enroll his child in the school, according to the anti-corruption agency.
School No.1 is among the most prestigious public schools in Mongolia.
A week after Bum-Erdene's arrest, the IAAC arrested another director of a reputable school in the country also accepting bribes. Lkhagvasuren Erdene is director of New Era International High School in the country.
It is not easy for parents to enroll their children in prestigious public schools in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator, partly due to over-population. As of the end of 2017, Ulan Bator hosted almost half of Mongolia's three million population.
The IAAC is a government body responsible for combating corruption.
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Mongolia Wants To Host The Meeting Between Trump And Kim Jong-un

The meeting of the DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and the president of the United States Donald Trump could take place in Mongolia. The Mongolian Foreign Minister Damdin Tsogtbaatar announced that the country is open to hosting the summit.
“We are open. Mongolia’s main goal is to facilitate the continuation of the dialogue,” said the minister, as quoted by RIA Novosti. According to Tsogtbaatar, Mongolian authorities also invited the DPRK leader to visit the country on an official visit as this year marks 70 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The day before, the U.S. President Donald Trump declared his readiness to host North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in his mansion in Florida. At the same time, the DPRK announced Pyongyang or Panmunjom as the places for the summit.
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Mongolian PM meets Russian defense minister

Ulaanbaatar, Oct 18-Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh on Thursday met visiting Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Sergei Shoigu arrived here in the morning for this one-day official visit, Xinhua reported, quoting a statement from Mongolian government press office.
“Mongolia attaches great importance to deepending its relations with Russia in all sectors. In this regard, we are ready to continue to expand military-technical cooperation between our two countries,” PM Khurelsukh said.
The PM expressed his gratititude for Russia’s long-standing support to providing training and military-technical equipment to Mongolia.
He also expressed the hope that Russia’s high-level officials will visit Mongolia to jointly celebrate the 80th anniversary of the victory of the battle of Khalkhin Gol in 2019.
Describing their bilateral relationship as traditionally good-neighborly, Shoigu said that Russia will further deepen military-technical cooperation with Mongolia.
Earlier in the day, Mongolian Defense Minister Nyamaa Enkhbold held talks with Shoigu on issues related to bilateral defense cooperation.
During the meeting, the two defense ministers signed a  long-term program for military cooperation to enhance defense ties, under which the two countries will collaborate in areas of armed forces management, military education and joint exercises, according to the Mongolian Defense Ministry.
During the visit, Russian Defense minister also handed over military equipment assistance to the Mongolian air defense forces.
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Mongolia, Vietnam sign agreement on transfer of sentenced persons

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia and Vietnam have signed an agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons, the Mongolian Foreign Affairs Ministry said Thursday.
A Mongolian delegation led by Minister of Justice and Home Affairs Tsend Nyamdorj visited Vietnam on Oct. 15-17, during which Nyamdorj and Vietnamese Minister of Public Security To Lam signed the agreement, the ministry said in a statement.
"Currently, there are no Mongolian citizens imprisoned in Vietnam. But the number of Mongolian visitors in Vietnam has been growing in recent years," the ministry said, stressing that this kind of agreement is important to protecting the rights of Mongolian citizens abroad.
According to data released by the ministry, a total of 174 Mongolian citizens are serving their prison sentences overseas.
Among the 19 foreign nationals serving sentences in Mongolia, two are Vietnamese. 
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Japan and North Korea intelligence officials held secret meeting in Mongolia in October

A top Japanese intelligence official close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a secret meeting with North Korean counterparts in early October in Mongolia, sources familiar with bilateral ties have said.
The meeting in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar could be consistent with Abe’s stated desire to arrange a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after he received assurances about progress on the long-standing issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s.
Among major countries dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat, Japan is the only one to have been kept at arm’s length since Kim began a string of diplomatic engagements this year. In addition to holding talks with Chinese, South Korean and U.S. leaders, Kim plans to hold a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin by the end of the year.
During a visit to Mongolia from around Oct. 6 to 8, Shigeru Kitamura, who heads the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, met with North Korean officials including a senior figure from the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, sources said Thursday.
The department is an intelligence organ mainly focused on South Korean affairs.
Confirming that the meeting took place, a senior Japanese government official said, “I heard they discussed how the abduction issue should be solved between Japan and North Korea.”
It is believed that the contact between intelligence authorities representing Tokyo and Pyongyang is the first of its type in about three months.
Kitamura previously met with Kim Song Hye, head of the United Front Department’s tactical office, in Vietnam in mid-July.
The latest revelation sheds light on Abe’s increased reliance on behind-the-scenes communications with North Korea, using intelligence authorities rather than the Foreign Ministry.
His approach seems to echo that of U.S. President Donald Trump, who mainly employed the Central Intelligence Agency to set the stage for his first summit with the North Korean leader in Singapore in June.
Japan has sounded out North Korea about Tokyo’s plan to open a liaison office in Pyongyang in the hope of resolving the abduction issue, sources said earlier this month.
The proposed opening of a liaison office is based on a bilateral agreement reached in 2014 in Stockholm that included provisions for Japanese officials to stay in North Korea to check the progress of Pyongyang’s probe into the abduction issue.
Japan officially lists 17 nationals as having been abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s but alleges their involvement in many more disappearances. Five of the 17 were repatriated in 2002.
It has been learned that Pyongyang reversed an earlier claim, unofficially telling Tokyo that one of the 17 abductees, Minoru Tanaka, had actually entered North Korea.
Kitamura, a former head of the National Police Agency’s intelligence department, might have discussed during the October meeting how to confirm the whereabouts of Tanaka and other abductees.
The Japanese government had not disclosed the information about Tanaka entering North Korea or the recent meeting in Mongolia.
Kitamura, seen as a trusted confidant of Abe, gathers and analyses information on both domestic and international affairs and reports to the prime minister, who has said that North Korea’s nuclear, missile and abduction issues should be resolved together.
The United Front Department is headed by Kim Yong Chol, a vice chairman of the ruling party who is a close aide to the North Korean leader. Kim Yong Chol visited the United States in May as the country’s highest-ranking official to do so in nearly two decades.
Abe is scheduled to visit China for three days from Oct. 25 and will hold a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Oct. 26 in Beijing. The topic of North Korea is likely to be on the table.
Last month Abe met with Trump in New York, where they had “constructive” talks on North Korea, according to Abe.

Source:Japan Times and Kyodo news agency
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Russia to expand military-technical cooperation with Mongolia

According to the Russian defense minister, Russian-Mongolian relations can be described as traditionally good-neighborly

ULAN BATOR, October 18. /TASS/. Russia will expand military-technical cooperation with Mongolia, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Thursday.
He has earlier arrived in Ulan Bator with an official visit. "We value the fact that Mongolia considers developing cooperation with Russia among its most important foreign policy priorities. We confirm our goal to use the accumulated potential in a most effective manner to expand military and military-technical cooperation," Shoigu said at talks with his Mongolian counterpart Nyamaagiin Enkhbold.
According to the Russian defense minister, Russian-Mongolian relations can be described as traditionally good-neighborly. "They [bilateral relations] have a long history and develop consistently in the economic and humanitarian sphere. Our countries have similar approaches to resolving the most pressing issues on the internaitonal agenda," Shoigu added.


He also expressed gratitude for Mongolia's active participation in events organized by the Russian Defense Ministry in 2018. "Among them are celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Red Army, Moscow Conference on International Security, the session of the Council of Defense Ministers of CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries, International Army Games and International Military-Technical Forum 'Army'," Shoigu said noting that this is already his fourth meeting with Enkhbold this year.

"It is pleasant to note that the agreements reached at our talks in Moscow and Kyzyl are already being implemented. We are ready to exchange opinions on relevant issues of cooperation in the military and military-technical spheres," Shoigu said.

Source:Tass, Russian news agency



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