President Kh.Battulga said that he hopes relations with Russia will develop very intensively, noting agriculture, tourism, and defense as key areas of focus during an interview with Russia’s TASS news agency.

The President gave his first interview to foreign media, expressing his intentions to double-down on relations with Russia leading up to talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum to be held in Vladivostok on September 6 and 7.

“I hope that our relations will be developing very intensively, including those in the defense sphere, because 95 percent of our military hardware is of Russian manufacture. Defense is one of the most important spheres of cooperation,” said the President.

As a former Minister of Agriculture, the President is familiar with the sector and has expressed his interests in further developing the sector.

“In the Soviet era we used a large amount of Soviet-made farm machinery. Now the fleet of Russia-made farm equipment has decreased. We should strengthen cooperation in farming. This is possible, because our countries’ climates are similar. For many years we have discussed the export of Mongolian meat to the Irkutsk Region but progress in tackling the issue is not very fast,” Battulga said.

“Infrastructures and transport in general are another field of our interaction,” he added.

“We’ve got a rich history, and a large portion of it shows us helping each other. The last example is the Battles of Khalkhyn Gol that must not be forgotten. I believe it is important for us to remember it,” he said.

“Improvement of relations and cooperation between Mongolia and the regions of the Russian Federation that have common borders plays a great role in extending cooperation between our countries. Relations and cooperation on the regional level should be taken to new heights,” President Battulga noted.

“Tourism is a special industry that requires good administration and high-quality service, as well as proper adjustment. We will open a new airport next year, which will stimulate tourism development, including attraction of Russian tourists. Not many Russian tourists are coming to Mongolia now. These are mainly holiday-makers from Siberian regions, who come to us by bus, whereas travelers from Moscow and the European part [of Russia] are visiting Turkey or European countries,” the President said.

“So, we have shared ideas with Buryatian travel agencies on the establishment of a tourist circle in which tourists from Japan and South Korea will visit the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (northern China), Mongolia and Buryatia, that is ‘three Mongolias,’” he added.

1 COMMENT

  1. I hope building the economic and trade ties is going to be his priority. Defense ties?… meh, what really does Russia have to offer there that they aren’t already doing (i.e. providing/supporting existing military equipment)? Mongolia’s difficulties and challenges are primarily economic in nature, not military, and it makes sense to build stronger economic ties to countries like Russia and other nearby neighbors aside from China. Stronger economic ties to Russia would do far more for Mongolia’s security against Chinese government influence over Mongolia (via it’s economy) or against any more direct aggressive/military Chinese action (unlikely as it may be in the near-to-mid-term) than just having some newer military Russian hardware. Russia under Putin is far from an ideal partner, but it’s realistically Mongolia’s most effective relationship in making China’s government a courteous neighbor and keeping it from encroaching too much on Mongolia’s sovereignty. Sure the U.S. government is friendly to Mongolia, but even if it truly cared about Mongolia’s welfare (and I’m not convinced the U.S. government cares much about ANYTHING other than it’s own power and existence) it’s simply not in much of a position to counter economic OR military pressure from China on Mongolia.

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