(TibetanReview.net, Feb22, 2017) – Ties between landlocked Mongolia and China appear to have been restored, with the foreign ministers of the two countries meeting in Beijing for two hours on Feb 20 to signal the development. China had cancelled diplomatic visits and exchanges with Mongolia in anger at the latter’s granting of visa to Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who commands considerable religious following in the country, for his Nov 2016 visit.
Following his meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Mongolia’s Foreign MinisterTsend Munkh-Orgil declared as “Mongolia’s primary foreign policy goal, a long-standing, stable, mutually beneficial and equal relationship with China”, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Feb 20.
The report also cited him as saying during their joint press conference that Tibet was an inseparable part of China and Tibet-related issues were China’s internal affairs.
The report further cited Munkh-Orgil as saying Mongolia had made efforts to repair ties with China and promised it would never allow future visits by the Dalai Lama, “a political exile with ambitions to split Tibet from China under the guise of religion”, as Xinhua put it.
Munkh-Orgil appeared to have done most of the talking, given China’s position that it was for Mongolia to take steps to mend ties.
Wang was reported to have hailed the Mongolian foreign minister’s statement, saying it was important for the two countries to boost ties from a new beginning. This was stated to include outlining high-level communication, synergizing China’s Belt and Road Initiative with Mongolia’s Prairie Road program and promoting cooperation in various fields.
Debt-ridden Mongolia remains in serious need of new loan from Beijing to overcome its crippling financial difficulties, including trying to avoid missing a $580 million sovereign-guaranteed debt repayment due in Mar 2017. China has agreed to provide assistance and favorable loan terms to Mongolia and to extend a bilateral currency swap deal that was vital to Mongolia’s foreign trade and currency stability, reported China’s official chinadaily.com.cn Feb 20.