China-Mongolia Summit Aids Relations
Chinese President Yang Shangkun concluded a four-day visit to Mongolia on Thursday, declaring his trip to the former Soviet satellite state “a complete success.”
His summit in Ulan Bator with Mongolian President Punsalmaagiyn Ochirbat marked a major expansion of Sino-Mongolian economic, political and cultural ties, virtually severed in the early 1960s when Sino-Soviet relations sharply deteriorated.
About 60,000 Soviet troops were stationed in Mongolia, facing Chinese soldiers, as recently as the mid-1980s. Moscow began pulling those troops out in 1987, which helped lead to normalization of Sino-Soviet ties in 1989 and Sino-Mongolian ties last year. Since last year, Mongolia has instituted a multi-party system and moved toward a market economy. But Soviet aid has fallen off and the Mongolian economy is depressed.
During Yang’s trip, an agreement was signed allowing Mongolia to ship goods through China and use port facilities in Tianjin, southeast of Beijing. Mongolian trade previously could be conducted only by shipping goods long distances on the Soviet Union’s Trans-Siberian Railway.
Ochirbat called the agreement “of great importance for landlocked Mongolia.” With convenient rail access to the Pacific, Mongolia can more easily pursue its new development strategy of promoting economic ties with Japan, the United States and Europe, as well as China and the Soviet Union.
China also made unspecified promises to provide more food and medicine to Mongolia and granted it a long-term, interest-free loan of unspecified value for construction of factories to produce consumer or export goods. The two sides also signed agreements to avoid double taxation, prevent tax evasion and protect investments, the official New China News Agency reported.
Yang, speaking Thursday with a Mongolian television station before flying to China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, said his talks were “fruitful” and promoted “mutual understanding and trust.”
Almost 800 years ago, under Genghis Khan and his immediate successors, the Mongols conquered most of Asia, including China, and part of Europe. In 1696, the Qing Dynasty incorporated Mongolia into the Chinese empire. Mongolia became the world’s second Communist nation in 1921, when it was wrested from China by the forces of Mongolian revolutionaries and the Soviet army.
China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which borders Mongolia, has a substantial Mongolian minority but is now predominantly populated by ethnic Chinese.
“Our two countries have a historical tradition, as well as many favorable conditions and vast potential for the expansion of economic and trade cooperation,” Yang said Thursday. “I believe that Sino-Mongolian economic and trade cooperation will develop in a better way with the common efforts of the two sides.”