The ICAS Lectures

No. 2000-0211-JaC

A Mongolian Angle of the Asian Affairs

  Jalbuu Choinhor

ICAS Winter Symposium
Asia's Challenges Ahead
University of Pennsylvania
February 11, 2000

Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

965 Clover Court, Blue Bell, PA 19422

Tel : (610) 277-9989; (610) 277-0149
Fax: (610) 277-3992


Biographic Sketch: Jalbuu Choinhor


A Mongolian Angle of the Asian Affairs

Jalbuu Choinhor (PhD)
Ambassador of Mongolia to the USA

We are convinced that for Mongolia the regional security is vital to advance our development goals and build cooperative relations with the world around us.

Literally for the last few years since the end of the Cold War the world has changed beyond recognition. In Mongolia alone fundamental changes took place in our society.

We have moved from a closed society with totalitarian rule and planned economy to an open society with democratic government and a market -oriented economy. This has not certainly been a task to accomplish overnight. Challenges ahead are tremendous. We have built solid institutions of representative democracy which have withstood the test of several elections . Government change proceeds smoothly without endangering the democratic process. Successive governments have worked , since the early 1990s, to build a more liberal, market-oriented environment conducive to a private sector-led development. The challenge before the government now to proceed further and firmly with the economic reform in the face of budgetary and unfavorable developments in the external sector.

Internationally, we face a world where an interplay of forces of continuity and change, globalization and pluralization makes this world a more complex place, and calls for an concerted international cooperation to respond to the challenges of new time.

The World around

We all admit that the advancing globalization, interdependence,trade and economic relations have emerged as major trends in world politics. As a result, managing these processes in such a way so as to ensure equitable development and avoid marginalization of the weak and vulnerable, has become a serious issue we all face now. The Asian financial crisis that spilled over to other parts of the world has made it evident that a major adaptation is needed -in individual countries, regionally and globally to address the opportunities and the challenges associated with the globalization. We feel that a more comprehensive approach to reform needs to be adopted domestically which should include the regulatory framework, including macroeconomic policies , but also governance issues, social and human aspects of development as well as environmental sustainability. It is our concern that, left unattended, uneven economic development, social inequalities and a further gap between the haves and the have-nots may be fraught with possible instabilities in individual countries that can spread to threaten wider regional and international stability. The crisis has been, I believe, a reminder to us of the linkages that exist between economic and political aspects of security.

Another trend is visible. Along with the conventional security threats such as weapons proliferation, "unconventional" threats to security such as international terrorism, drug-trafficking, organized crime, energy, population and so on pose a strategic challenge in all regions of the world. This has been attested by the agenda of various international and regional fora in recent years. We feel it important that governments cooperate among each other and with the non-government organizations to address these trans-national challenges.

Due to the new information era the world is becoming a smaller and more open place making travel and communications within reach for millions. This offers the once rare chance to go on with future global civil society of the professionals from all walks of life willing to influence the solution of the international issues at various levels. Information revolution has also been accompanied by a movement towards greater democratization which has marked the last decade of this century. But there have also been negative developments such as terrorists and criminals acquiring new technology and crossing borders and threatening stability and killing innocent people. International terrorism must be fought by joint efforts and resolutely condemned.

Along with the emerging new challenges the world is still faced with such long-standing security threat as weapons proliferation. In past years a major progress has been made in non-proliferation and arms control sphere: the NPT has been indefinitely extended, the CTBT has been opened for signature, the CWC entered into force, the LBC entered into force. It is important to strengthen the non-proliferation regime with an objective of moving closer to nuclear disarmament and redouble the efforts aimed at the prevention of the weapons of mass destruction.

Though with the end of the Cold War the danger of a global war has become minimal the rise of nationalism, ethnic tensions and conflicting territorial claims have led to armed conflicts in various parts of the world. This constitutes a source of instability throughout the world and can endanger international peace and security. We believe it important that nations work together to build preventive capacities that can first help identify and address the causes of disputes before they become conflicts.

Our region in particular

The post cold war era presents a substantial chances for improved security environment in our region. This was also due to the common preoccupation with the economic growth that has been the region's overriding concern in past years. The major challenge now before the region is to preserve the environment of peace and stability in the face of current uncertainties.

We believe it to be an important achievement for the region that the nations in the region have been able to build the ARF multilateral confidence-building measures implemented by the ARF members play, in our view, an important role in enhancing mutual understanding and fostering the tradition of dialogue and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

With regard to North-East Asia, the situation on the Korean peninsula is of great concern. We believe it important that such dialogue avenues as inter-Korean dialogue and the four-party talks be further pursued to reduce tension and improve the overall security on the peninsula. In this regard greater part of the whole issue is dependent on the more experienced democracies rather than on those who are about to learn democracy and the spirit of obtaining consensus. In a word cooperation of major powers on issues of common interest is also important in maintaining peace and security in North-East Asia.

We believe that continued implementation of the non-proliferation and arms control regimes is essential in preserving regional peace and stability . We highly value ASEAN's role in maintaining regional stability and fostering regional cooperation . Its long-standing record of cooperation, good-neighbourliness and dialogue have greatly contributed to the cause of peace and stability in the region. APEC, through its liberalization efforts and Economic Leaders' meetings, also contributes its own share to mutual understanding and regional cooperation.

With regard to regional affairs, the valuable role played by "dialogues in promoting regional cooperation both in economic and political spheres is also to be noted.

Regional security from our angle

Mongolia has opened herself up to the outside world - we found ourselves confronted with the double challenge of responding to the immediate need to redefine Mongolia's foreign policy and security priorities , and adjusting , on a longer term, to the challenges of globalization and economic liberalization.

As a response , we conducted a major review of our foreign and security policy which resulted in the endorsement by the Parliament of two basic documents called Concept of Foreign Policy and Concept of National Security. We adopted what was termed as a multi-pillar foreign policy and a comprehensive approach to national security. Mongolia's multi-pillar foreign policy signified its desire to maintain balanced and good -neighborly relations with Russia and China, our sole neighbors , develop closer relations with other countries in the world and in the region, including such key nations as the United States and Japan, and engage more broadly in various areas of regional and international cooperation to advance our small -and -developing country perspective.

In this regard last year was a success. We had a number of important high- level visits to Mongolia by regional leaders: visit by President Kim Dae-jung of the ROK, visit by Prime-Minister Obuchi of Japan and then visit by President Jiang Zemin of the PRC.

In the face of an increasingly interdependent world, a novel international economic and security environment and evolving global and regional realities we think it important to maximize the benefits offered by international and regional multilateral cooperation to pursue the nation's development and security goals . Hence our more active work in the UN, fresh membership in such organizations and fora as international financial institutions , the WTO , the ARF. We also expressed our desire to join the APEC.

According to our comprehensive approach, Mongolia's national security encompasses a number of components such as security of the Mongolian nation which is defined as Mongolia's vital national interest , economic security described as the cornerstone of Mongolia's independence and sovereignty , environmental security, information security etc.

In the 1990s the Asia -Pacific region emerged as a new and important direction for our foreign policy. In that region our policy goals consist in the following. Enhancing mutual understanding through exchanges of visits , promotion of political dialogue and cultural exchanges. In the 1990s we worked to diversify our external ties in political , economic, trade and military spheres with regional countries. There have been exchanges of visits at various levels, which helped engage us more actively with the Asia-Pacific region.

Developing trade and economic ties with the region through creating opportunities for increased bilateral trade; promoting links between private sectors; encouraging foreign direct investment; seeking aid in major areas of reform; engaging with the APEC process; seeking membership in PECC; supporting multilateral economic cooperation in North -East Asia, we participate in the Tumen river project. We also work to promote sub-regional cooperation of land -locked and transit countries. We take part in some of the APEC working groups as a guest participant and have developed our own Individual Action Plan of trade investment liberalization in accordance with the APEC model. Enhancing Mongolia's security environment through building a multi-pillar framework for security.

In the Asia-Pacific region our security strategy consists in building a multi-pillar framework of security by a) maintaining friendly good-neighbourly relations with our neighbours ; b) developing closer bilateral relations with other regional countries; c) working within the ARF multilateral process; d) contributing to North-East Asian peace and stability ; e) developing military-to- military contacts; f) implementing global non-proliferation and arms control regimes, g) and encouraging " track two " dialogues on security issues.

The end of the Cold War substantially improved Mongolia's immediate security environment by bringing about improved relations between Russia and China which we see as a major stabilizing factor . Our relations with Russia and China , our sole neighbours, are governed by such principles as balance, good-neighbourliness, mutually beneficial cooperation, long-term nature, Mongolia signed respective Treaties of Friendly Relations and Cooperation with Russia and China. We do not have any territorial or border disputes with our neighbours which serves as a good basis for our good-neighbourly relations.


This page last updated 2/27/2000 jdb


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