Some lessons from Mongolian diplomacy

Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President of Mongolia, addresses the UN General Assembly. The Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security and Mongolia's increasingly prominent involvement in UN peacekeeping operations have given Mongolia a far greater international presence than might be expected. (Photo: Flickr/UN).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Mongolia might seem like an odd vantage point from which to view the travails associated with China’s rise. But the history, from Genghis Khan to the present day, and circumstance of Mongolian relations with its giant neighbour is replete with experience that might sensibly inform the conduct of relations between China and its neighbours around the South China Sea and to the east. Read more…

Mongolia’s confident new strategy towards prosperity

Two students study on a laptop from a computer distribution program in Mongolia. Mongolia has overcome a painful economic transition to become a middle-income country with the highest economic growth in the world. (Photo: Flickr/One laptop per child).

Author: Luvsanvandan Bold, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mongolia

Mongolia’s ancestors were risk-takers who built the largest contiguous land empire in world history ranging from the Korean Peninsula to Poland, including the Middle East and Southern China. They ruled this vast territory and countless peoples wisely. During the period of the Mongol Empire, now referred to as Pax Mongolica, trade between the West and the East flourished through the famous Silk Road Read more…

Mongolia’s economic prospects and challenges

Another aspect of Mongolia's mining boom: illegal gold miners, known as Ninjas, operating a sluice near Ulanbataar. Most of the gold they extract is sold to customers in China. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tuvshintugs Batdelger, National University of Mongolia

In recent years Mongolia has become one of the most rapidly expanding economies in the world. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, it was one of the top performers in 2013, with economic growth of 11.7 per cent, and it is projected to be the second top-performing economy in 2014, only after South Sudan (about 15 per cent). Read more…

Mongolia in the region: time for economic foreign policy

The Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in the South Gobi desert, Mongolia. The mine is a joint venture between the Mongolian government, Canada's Ivanhoe Mines and British-Australian Rio Tinto. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Julian Dierkes, UBC

Mongolia has been extraordinarily successful in building a foreign policy around the Leitmotiv of ‘third neighbours’ for the past 20 years. Reinforced by the country’s democratisation and the promise of mineral resources, this foreign policy has helped Mongolia claim much more attention on the global stage than one might expect from a vast country of only three million inhabitants. Read more…

Japan’s Mongolian connection in North Korea

Former Director of Asian Affairs at the North Korean Foreign Ministry Ma Chol Su  meets Japanese lawmaker Antonio Inoki to sign an agreement on the opening of an office to facilitate exchanges between Japan and North Korea through sports in Pyongyang on Nov. 4, 2013 (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Julian Dierkes, UBC and Otgonbaatar Byambaa, Waseda

President Ts Elbegdorj of Mongolia became the first head of state to visit North Korea since Kim Jong-un came to power, even though initial reports suggest that the two leaders did not meet.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has staked a great deal of political capital on his commitment to resolve the issue of the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens. Read more…

The steppes to the States

Supporters of President Tsakhia Elbegdorj attend the final presidential campaign rally at the Central Square in Ulan Bator before he was re-elected on 26 June (Photo: AAP).

Author: Brandon Miliate, Indiana University 

Mongolia is determined to defeat geographic destiny and escape the influence of Russia and China.

Since 1990, it has pursued a multidirectional foreign policy, forging strong ties with such global players as the United States, the EU, Japan, South Korea and India. Read more…

Mongolia’s evolving foreign investment regime

Part of the Mongolian Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, a joint venture between the Malaysian government, Rio Tinto and Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines. (Photo:AAP).

Author: Julian Dierkes, UBC

In April 2012, Chinese miner Chalco launched a takeover bid for South Gobi Resources.

The bid prompted the Mongolian parliament to pass a new foreign investment law distinguishing between bids made by private companies and bids made by state-owned enterprises (SOE) and introducing monetary thresholds for different kinds of reviews. Read more…

Governance and corruption in Mongolia: mixed messages

A view of the central square of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. International condemnation relating to the Enkhbayar trial is misleading in the face of the deafening silence regarding the arrest and sentencing of four former policemen, whose human rights were more blatantly breached. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Amy Dowler, ANU

On the evening of 1 July 2012, three days after parliamentary elections were held, a large number of Mongolians gathered in Ulaanbaatar’s Sukhbaatar square, Mongolia’s equivalent of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, to release floating lanterns commemorating the lives lost in violence following the 2008 election.

In 2008, suspicions that the incumbent Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, which has since changed its name to the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), had rigged the polls triggered street protests by supporters of the opposition Democratic Party (DP). Read more…

Mongolia’s 2012 parliamentary election

Mongolians cast their votes at a polling station during the parliament elections in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, 28 June 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Li Narangoa, ANU

A total of 544 candidates from 11 parties and 2 coalitions contested the 76-seat parliament in Mongolia’s 2012 parliamentary election.

Preliminary results show that the Democratic Party received the highest number of votes (approximately 31–32), followed by the current ruling party, the Mongolian People’s Party (approximately 27–28), and the Justice Coalition (11). Read more…

Mongolia: electronic counting but no trust

Voters waiting in line at a polling station outside of Ulaanbaatar (Photo: Julian Dierkes)

Authors: Julian Dierkes and Brandon Miliate, UBC

The results from Mongolia’s 28 June 2012 parliamentary election on are in — sort of. The General Electoral Commission (GEC) announced the preliminary results on 30 June, with official results set to be announced by 13 July. No party won an outright majority, which would require 39 seats in the 76-member State Great Khural.

The Democratic Party (DP) won 31 seats, thus becoming the most Read more…

Whither Mongolian democracy?

US President George W. Bush and then Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar at Government House in Ulan Bator on Nov. 2005. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Todd Landman, University of Essex

Mongolia has always been an unlikely case of democratisation.

A sparsely populated, poor country sandwiched between Russia and China, it defied all odds with a relatively peaceful democratic transition in 1990. Since then, it has had regular elections and transfers of political power between the main political parties, Read more…

Asia’s regulatory reawakening

The courts in Bali, an example of regulatory reawakening? (Photo: AAP)

Author: Veronica Taylor, ANU

Visual images of regulatory failure in Asia are a staple of mainstream media in the west: contaminated food killing children; humanitarian disasters magnified by ramshackle construction; industrial landscapes thick with sulphurous smoke; corrupt officials facilitating transactions from traffic fines to people smuggling.

In policy literature these acute social, economic and environmental issues are attributed to deficient national and local governance and a lack of regulatory capacity. Read more…

Calls for a Sino-Mongolia strategic partnership

A Mongoiian Lama Buddhist monk tends to the solar powered electricity generator at a monastery deep in the Gobi desert in Mongolia, 10 August 2007. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Mendee Jargalsaikhan, UBC

The Chinese Foreign Minister’s brief visit to Mongolia on 24 February, like the Chinese Premier’s visit last June, did not trigger any negative public debate or protests in the streets of Ulaanbaatar.

Rather, an op-ed by well-known columnist Baabar on the repression and marginalization of Chinese ethnic minorities during the communist era received wide attention. Read more…