Beijing—The China-proposed Belt-Road Initiative, which is highly consistent with Mongolia’s Steppe Road program, will guide the win-win cooperation between the two countries.
The Belt-Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. It brings together countries in Asia, Europe and Africa via overland and maritime networks. The Steppe Road program is designed to boost the Mongolian economy through transborder transportation. It includes infrastructure improvement, such as a new highway to link Russia and China, an electric railway extension of the existing Mongolian railway system and the building of an oil and gas pipeline through Mongolian territory linking Russia and China.
In a meeting with Chairman of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) Miyegombo Enkhbold during his visit to Mongolia, senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official Liu Yunshan on Saturday called for the implementation of the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, saying the two sides should boost mutually beneficial trade cooperation and closely align China’s Belt-Road Initiative with Mongolia’s Steppe Road program.
During the visit of Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj to China in November 2015, the two countries issued a statement in which both sides said they would actively promote signing a treaty on aligning China’s Belt-Road initiative with Mongolia’s Steppe Road plan.
In his first official visit to Mongolia in July, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the two neighbors are economically complementary to each other and new opportunities in deepening bilateral cooperation have become available.
China stands ready to align its Belt-Road Initiative with Mongolia’s Steppe Road program and will start a feasibility study on a free trade pact with Mongolia, Li said.
Li also said China is ready to make new progress with Mongolia in such fields as the processing of farm and pasture products, housing and infrastructure. He suggested the two sides strengthen financial cooperation and expand the currency-swap scale.
Erdenebat said Mongolia will advance cooperation with China in such fields as agriculture, livestock farming, energy, minerals and infrastructure. Erdenebat welcomed more investment from Chinese firms, adding that Mongolia is positive with starting the feasibility study of a free trade pact with China.
Mongolia, a country of 3 million people with an economy of 12 billion U.S. dollars in size, is facing the worst economic crisis since 2009.
The new government led by the ruling MPP is trying to win investor confidence, cut government spending and find solutions to its mounting foreign debt.