Wednesday May 27, 2020


August 22, 2014

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Mongola on Thursday and Friday. This was the first trip to Mongolia by a Chinese president in over a decade. This was Xi Jinping’s third time meeting with Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, his Mongolian counterpart. Xi Jinping did not visit other countries during this trip. This gesture emphasizes the importance of Mongolia to China, and follows a new pattern of more intimate visits with its neighbors also seen in Xi Jinping’s visit to South Korea earlier this summer.

During the visit, China and Mongolia signed a joint declaration stating their intention to improve ties and create a “comprehensive strategic partnership.” Agreements signed during the visit were aimed at improving trade and increasing cooperation in important areas such as energy and infrastructure.

The level of trade between the two countries has been increasing rapidly over the years.  China now makes up 90% of Mongolia’s export market, making it Mongolia’s largest partner in trade.

This high trade volume is in part because Mongolia is land locked. Due to this trip, Mongolia will now have access to sea ports in northern China. They also pledged to double bilateral trade by the year 2020.

Mongolia and China share a 4710 km (2591 mile) border to China’s north. Mongolia is located between China and Russia, making it an important country for China geopolitically. Mongolia had strong ties to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Mongolia has remained firmly independent politically and is now an established democracy.

The Chinese leader made sure to recognize this independence during his visit, working to assuage fears that China would want to expert control over its much smaller neighbor. According to reports, Xi Jinping said “China would always respect Mongolia’s independence, territorial integrity and right to make its own decisions.”

As part of an address at Mongolia’s parliament, Xi Jinping said, “We will uphold the guidelines of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in neighborhood diplomacy.” He went on further to say, “China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and in the meantime, it will push for peaceful development among all countries.”

According to Xi, “No matter how the international landscape changes, the two sides [China and Mongolia] should firmly grasp the main direction of bilateral relations, give more consideration to each other as strategic partners, and resolutely support each other on issues concerning the other’s major core interests and major concerns, such as sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.”

President Xi expressed his hope that “China and Mongolia will become close neighbors and friends with mutual trust.” These overtures and assurances toward Mongolia are part of China’s larger effort to improve ties with its neighbors. Considering China has an astounding 14 countries sharing its borders, this is no small effort.

These efforts seem especially important now for China, given the current tension and territorial disputes in the East and South China’s seas as well as the continued U.S. involvement in the region. Improving ties with neighbors is a vital step in working towards maintaining the type of stability and security in the region necessary for China’s continued economic growth.

For more information on Xi Jinping’s trip to Mongolia, see the sources below:

The Diplomat- “Xi’s Mongolia Trip a Signal to China’s Neighbors

South China Morning Post- “President Xi Jinping’s visit brings upgrade in ties with Mongolia

ABC News- “China’s Xi Courts Public Opinion in Mongolia

Beijing Review- “2014 Important for China-Mongolia Ties

Xinhua- “Welcome aboard China’s train of development: President Xi

People’s Daily- “Xi’s Mongolia trip to build closer neighborhood

Reuters- “Mongolia eyes economic boost from China president’s visit

Washington Post- “Mongolia, China pledge $10 billion in annual trade

For Chinese language news sources, see the below articles:

People’s Daily (人民网)- “习近平会见蒙古国国家大呼拉尔主席恩赫包勒德

Voice of America (美国之音)- “习近平es蒙古动因

China Daily (中国日报)- “中国经济带动蒙古跳跃式发展

China News Service (中国新闻网)- “习近平在蒙古国发表演讲:欢迎搭乘中国发展的列车

Worldwide News (环球网)- “蒙古总统:习近平领导风范和决断力令人钦佩

CCTV- “习近平抵达乌兰巴托开始对蒙古国进行国事访问

Compiled and edited by Ariane Rosen