Mongolia, Russia and China agree to establish economic corridor

Presidents Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Ts.Elbegdorj at the tripartite meeting in Tashkent

During the 16th summit of the State Heads of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), organized from June 23 to 24 in Uzbekistan’s Tashkent city, presidents of Mongolia, China and Russia held their third tripartite meeting. The presidents signed an agreement on establishing an economic corridor between the three countries during the meeting.

The three state heads reviewed and agreed to deepen cooperation in economic, infrastructure, transit transportation, energy, tourism, and border sectors.

The presidents also signed an agreement between Russia’s Federal Customs Service, China’s General Administration of Customs, and Mongolia’s General Taxation and Customs Administration, which calls for a mutual recognition of the result of custom control inspections of certain goods.

President of China Xi Jinping said that he was happy to meet his Mongolian and Russian counterparts again.

“Following our meeting in Ufa last July, we jointly approved the roadmap for developing our trilateral cooperation over the medium term. Our three countries’ ministries, local authorities and companies are working actively to implement this roadmap, and are organizing intensive coordination of projects in trade, the economy, humanitarian ties, transit traffic, tourism and sports,” Xi Jinping said.

The Chinese President underlined that signing the economic corridor agreement illustrates that the three countries are capable of knitting close cooperation ties as neighbors.

“I am happy with the way our trilateral ties are developing. We are ready to listen to your remarks and proposals on the next steps to take,” said Xi Jinping.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin emphasized that Russia has long standing friendly ties with China and Mongolia, and noted that the three countries are building trilateral partnership on the principles of good-neighborliness, equality, and mutual respect.

“In Ufa, we agreed to step up our cooperation in a broad range of areas. It is important that we have started implementing the roadmap to develop our trilateral contacts in politics,the economy,international affairs, and the cultural and humanitarian sectors. We have launched a mechanism for political consultations now and this is a good opportunity for coordinating our positions on current regional issues,” noted Putin.

President Putin said that the program for establishing an economic corridor linking Russia, China and Mongolia seeks to substantially intensify cross-border ties by launching more than 30 trilateral investment projects.

“Regarding the program’s practical implementation, we think Mongolia’s idea of establishing a joint investment planning center is a promising idea. Its main task would be to develop new cooperation proposals in transportation, construction of communication and electricity transmission lines, and energy transport routes,” he pointed out.

President Putin also said that Russia believes that it is important to give priority attention to infrastructure initiatives, and added that Russian businesses are ready to take part in modernizing the Ulaanbaatar railway.

“I have discussed this on past occasions with the President of Mongolia. We will increase the railway’s throughput capacity to 100 million tons of freight a year. We will also develop road freight transport. This will help us make better use of our countries’ transit potential,” said Putin.

The Russian President highlighted that the three nations need to continue working towards strengthening contacts between the three countries’ business communities.

Putin added, “In June last year, our countries’ chambers of commerce and industry held a successful forum in China. The next forum, which will take in Chita, Russia on August 5 and 6, has Russia’s active support.”

“I want to say that we are seeing positive changes taking place before our eyes in environmental cooperation throughout the entire region. I know that Mongolia plans to build hydroelectricity facilities in the Selenge River basin. We would like to study these plans very carefully with our friends in Mongolia and China,” Putin said.

President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj underlined that it was a great pleasure to greet his counterparts at the third tripartite meeting.

“The aim of establishing the economic corridor is to put in place conditions for expanding trilateral cooperation by increasing trade between our three countries. I would like to exchange views and settle the following matters during this meeting. First of all, this involves the implementation of a program to create an economic corridor. I suggest we select those projects, out of the 32 from the program, which can be implemented now, and find sources to finance them. Given the fact that the parties agreed to establish an investment center to determine funding and do feasibility studies for projects, I propose such a center be created in 2016. As part of improving cooperation on roads and transportation, we propose holding regular consultations with transport agencies of the third parties, which are a real mechanism to promote railway projects. The second meeting on current issues is expected to be held between August and September in Ulaanbaatar,” said Ts.Elbegdorj.

The Mongolian President underlined that the need to select promising avenues of trilateral cooperation between the three countries. He said that the trilateral cooperation should not be limited to economic corridors, transport and customs issues.

President Ts.Elbegdorj said that he believes that the three nations have possibilities to develop trilateral cooperation in agriculture and emergency prevention.

President Xi Jinping underlined that Mongolia, Russia and China should comprehensively promote trilateral cooperation by linking the Chinese Silk Road Economic Belt, the Russian Trans-Eurasian Belt, and the Mongolian Steppe Route projects.

President Ts.Elbegdorj also held a bilateral meeting with Xi Jinping to discuss and exchange views on boosting relations and cooperation between Mongolia and China. Ts.Elbegdorj said that he hopes that during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit to Mongolia, which will be held under the ASEM Summit, Mongolia and China will resolve and complete many expected deals.

The Mongolian President noted that works for revising and establishing negotiations on Mongolia-China border port regime are ongoing with progresses, but said that the issue on developing Gashuunsukhait to Gants Mod, Shiveekhuren to Sekhee ports to international standards is vital and asked the Chinese President to pay attention to this matter.

Ts.Elbegdorj also requested his Chinese counterpart to provide support for developing Mongolia’s sea exit and freight transit transportation agreed during Xi Jinping’s visit to Mongolia held in 2014.

President Elbegdorj also asked Xi Jinping to focus on Eg River Hydroelectric Power Plant that will be implemented through concessional loan from the government of China.