Mongolia’s agreement with US will not affect relations with Moscow, Beijing

US President Donald J. Trump and Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga © EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Aug 3, 2019, TASS. The declaration on strategic partneship between Ulaanbaatar and Washington signed during Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga’s visit to the United States represents a political gesture aimed at demonstrating growing international support for Mongolia, chairman of the Valdai International Discussion Club Andrey Systritsky told TASS on Friday.

“There will be no significant consequences [for Mongolia’s relations with Russia and China] after this declaration. It is rather a demonstrative political gesture aimed at showing to Mongolia’s neighbors (Russia and China) that Mongolia has some additional real or imaginary political support,” Bystritsky said. “At the same time, Mongolia is intensively developing its relations with Russia, and shows great interest in this. As far as I know — and I talked with Mongolian colleagues, including those in the sphere of foreign policy — they are energetically trying to develop relations with Russia,” he added.

According to the expert, Mongolia is interested in diversifying its international relations, and signing a declaration on strategic partneship with the US is supposed to set the framework for the country’s foreign policy. He added that it is hard to tell which side initiated the agreement, and it seems like the declaration was long in the works. At the same time, Bystritsky noted that there is no consensus among diverse Mongolian elites on the country’s foreign policy course.

“One should not talk about favoring the West in this situation. This declation is political, and it is aimed at neighboring countries. It is supposed to reconfigure, not radically change relations with neighboring countries,” the expert said. “Moreover, Mongolia, like many other countries, is somewhat cautious about China, not because there is a specific reason for that, but just because China is so big and strong,” he concluded.

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