Bilateral relations between Mongolia and the United Kingdom
Close cooperation and ties with Western friends, such the UK, are crucial. Thus, the maintaining close and constructive bilateral relations and cooperation with the United Kingdom is one of the main priorities of the Mongolian Government’s foreign policy. Today the UK is an important partner in Mongolia’s efforts to strengthen democracy and market economy. For Mongolia, surrounded by two big countries, Russia and China it is important to get a continued support from third states such as the UK to maintain balanced relations with them. Although the UK is geographically far from Mongolia, it has become closer to the heart and mind of Mongolians thanks to its support for Mongolia’s political and economic reforms.
The establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the United Kingdom on the 23rd of January 1963 was an important step in the process of gaining full recognition of Mongolia in the international arena. Britain was the first among Western developed nations to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia giving a significant impetus to enhancing Mongolia’s prestige in the international community.
Over the last four decades, especially in the last 10 years the relationship between the two countries has deepened significantly, stimulated by shared democratic values. A number of important visits, including the official visit of His Excellency Saikhanbileg Chimed, Prime Minister of Mongolia to the UK, and the official visit of The Rt Hon William Hague, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to Mongolia, took place over the last years. Mongolia views this development as a clear reflection of the current level of our bilateral relationship and cooperation.
Today the bilateral cooperation in the fields of mining, education, energy, communication, agriculture and industry continues to grow successfully. Britain is one of the 10 main trading partners of Mongolia and one of our major foreign investors. The expansion of trade and investment relations with the UK is one of Mongolia’s priorities in further developing its economy. Mongolia is genuinely interested in attracting more British direct investment and introducing British high-technology advancement to our economic development as Mongolia is member of key global economic organizations such as the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and World Bank. It is worth noting that Rio Tinto, one of the world leading companies in the mining field, decided to invest in Mongolia’s mining sector development. Recently, the Mongolian Government and Rio Tinto signed an investment agreement for Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project. The Mongolian Government is willing to further cooperate with the big mining investors of the UK on the basis of open-minded and mutually beneficial trade principles.
In Mongolia mining industry is seen as an engine of growth that will generate resources to promote the development of value added production upstream and downstream, and at the same time places a high priority on investment in human development. Future of Mongolia is in competitive business environment, highly developed value added industries, educated and healthy people. To achieve this goal is challenging, but achievable. With active support of developed countries like the UK and international organizations the Government of Mongolia is optimistic with further successful democratisation, rapid economic growth and sustainable development.
One area, Mongolia is proud to be, is the cooperation at the international security. Mongolia has supported the anti terrorism policy of the US and its close ally the UK from the very onset. Mongolia consistently supports the efforts by the international community to eliminate the threat of international terrorism and Mongolia feels that it is important to join the forces in fighting against it.
Inter-parliamentary contacts between two countries have began since 1970. The Mongolia-UK parliamentary group, headed by Mr. R.Amarjargal, re-established in the Mongolian Parliament in 2012. All-Party Parliamentary Mongolia Group was also re-established in the British Parliament where Mr.James Gray MP chairs the group.
The FCO funds a bilateral programme focussed on projects which support specific objectives in Mongolia, in particular combating corruption and embedding democratic practice, good governance and respect for human rights. Projects are implemented in partnership with local NGOs. In addition to this, the British Government provides scholarship to Mongolians through the Chevening Scholarship Scheme which is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Mongolia receives around 7,000 tourists from the UK each year, while the Mongolian community in the UK is between 4,000 and 5,000.
The current Mongolian Ambassador to the United Kingdom H.E. Mr.Bayar Sanjaa accredited on 1st March, 2017. H.E. Ms. Catherine Arnold, British Ambassador to Mongolia, presented his letters of credence in August 2015.