Few countries have been lavished with more US attention and encouragement than Mongolia.Much of this intense diplomatic activity was predicated on supporting Mongolia’s “third neighbour” policy, a determination on the part of Ulan Bator to diversify its foreign policy engagements beyond the occasionally constricting and oppressive interactions with its near neighbours, Russia and China. The US made clear its strong desire to work more closely with Mongolia on promoting business and commercial ties, at integrating the country more into the global mainstream of diplomacy, and to find opportunities for more cultural and personal ties. Both sides remain optimistic about the potentials in all these areas.Still, after a few false starts and fitful progress, there is a renewed energy in Washington to take the relationship to the next level….Early signals coming out of Ulan Bator indicate that the re-elected president and his team of ministers and senior government officials want to finally move consequentially to develop stronger ties with the US and other key nations such as Japan and South Korea.
This is a heartening story, and Campbell (one of the architects of Obama’s “pivot to Asia”) tells it well.We suspect the view of this story from Beijing is slightly less benign than the view from Washington.[The Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine in the Gobi desert will account for 30 percent of Mongolia’s GDP upon completion; image courtesy Wikimedia]