Cooperation with Mongolia to get a boost

Updated: 2012-06-08 11:08

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)

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China expects to strengthen tangible cooperation with Mongolia in various fields including mineral resources exploitation and financing, President Hu Jintao said on Thursday.

Hu made the remarks during talks with visiting Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who was in the Chinese capital to attend the SCO summit.

Rich in coal, gold and copper, Mongolia, with a population of less than 3 million, has ridden a mineral boom that is expected to more than double its GDP within a decade.

Hu told Elbegdorj that he hopes both countries will elevate their cooperation while "promoting the triad of cooperation on mineral resources exploitation, infrastructure construction and financing".

Hu also noted that trade between the two neighbors rose sharply after Beijing and Ulan Bator established a strategic partnership last year.

China is now Mongolia's largest trading partner and its largest source of foreign investment.

Bilateral trade stood above $6.3 billion in 2011, an increase of 84.3 percent compared with the previous year.

Mongolian exports to China reached $4.37 billion, accounting for 91.3 percent of Mongolia's overall export volume, according to Mongolian official figures. The exports to China mainly include coal, copper ore, iron ore and crude oil.

To further develop the ties, "politically, the two countries should continue deepening mutual trust and grasp the overall direction of the ties from a strategic height and a long-term angle", Hu said.

Beijing appreciates Ulan Bator's attitude of putting relations with China as one of the priorities of its foreign policies, the Chinese president said.

Elbegdorj said the strategic partnership has served as a "milestone" while his country is committed to friendly cooperation with China for the long run.

He also congratulated Beijing on successfully completing its term as the SCO's rotating presidency from 2011 to 2012 and said Mongolia is happy for the development of the organization.

Mongolia, with India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, is an observer state in the SCO.

A spokesperson for the Mongolian president said in Beijing on Thursday that Ulan Bator also expects to learn from Beijing's experience in desertification prevention and control.

Many measures that China has taken on sand control have proven effective, and the green coverage area continues to expand, the spokesperson said.

Mongolia is eager to introduce its neighbor's experience to its Gobi Desert area, according to the official.

Elbegdorj, noted for delivering on promises to put the environment at the forefront of policies, is among the six winners of the United Nations' Champions of the Earth 2012 award.

The Mongolian president said his formative years as a Mongolian herdsman living close to nature helped shape his sustainable outlook.