Mongolia sees more gains in ties with China

2023-06-30 10:20:00China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Minister calls for joint efforts in tackling common challenges including desertification

Mongolia expects to achieve more results by boosting bilateral cooperation with China in environmental protection, trade and tourism, especially in the border areas, a senior Mongolian official said.

Bat-Erdene Bat-Ulzii, Mongolia's minister of environment and tourism, told China Daily during a recent interview that it is necessary for Mongolia and China to step up efforts in better protecting the Gobi Desert as both countries have been experiencing frequent sandstorms in recent years.

"People are living on the same planet and the yellow sand does not know borders. That's why we need to build a community with a shared future to jointly tackle common challenges such as desertification and climate change," Bat-Ulzii said.

The minister recalled a visit earlier this month to the Tibet autonomous region and said he was inspired by China's advanced technologies that allowed it to plant trees on mountains.

"What China has done is remarkable," he said, referring to the growing green zones and increasing water supply in the desert belt.

According to Bat-Ulzii, a joint research team has been established by the two countries to find out what kind of trees can be planted in the desert. Such efforts will also contribute to achieving Mongolia's goal of planting 1 billion trees by 2030, he said.

The national campaign dubbed "Billion Trees" was initiated by Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh in 2021 as part of the country's fight against climate change.

Bat-Ulzii is a member of the delegation led by Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene, who is paying an official visit to China from Monday through Saturday on the margins of the 14th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, also known as the Summer Davos Forum.

Environmental protection was one of the topics on Oyun-Erdene's bilateral talks' agenda with Chinese leaders. Both sides have expressed their readiness to cooperate with each other in preventing desertification and protecting wildlife.

According to Bat-Ulzii, during the Mongolian prime minister's visit, the two countries also extended an agreement to protect Mongolia's rare Gobi bear, as such cooperation was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mongolia further expects to develop stronger cooperation with China in terms of trade, investment and tourism as part of its efforts to drive economic recovery after the pandemic. "Mongolia is looking for Chinese investment in areas such as construction, road and mining sectors," he said.

China has been Mongolia's largest trading partner and investor for many years. Bilateral trade was $10.79 billion in the first 11 months of last year, with a year-on-year increase of 24 percent, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Mongolia has declared 2023 to 2025 as the "Years to Visit Mongolia", and the country aims to receive at least 1 million foreign visitors during this period, including 300,000 from China, Bat-Ulzii said.

The Mongolian government and parliament are also working on a draft law on casino operations, a move to promote border tourism between the two countries, he added.


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