The Increasing Importance of Mongolia in International Politics

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In international politics, we are witnessing a process where different equations have been formed due to the changes that have occurred in the past year. While the fundamental priorities of many countries are changing, partnerships are diversifying, and actors from different geographies around the world are becoming effective. The new era opened by the Russia-Ukraine war played a major role in the formation of these equations. One of the biggest effects of the war is evident in the policies and bilateral relations of European and Central Asian countries. In this context, Mongolia is seen to be in a prominent position in the international arena.

Recent developments one after another demonstrate the interest in Mongolia. However, it also shows that Ulaanbaatar, which is developing its foreign policy steps, wants to go through this process with positive gains. The first of these developments is that French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Mongolia in May 2023. The other is the visit of Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh to China on May 1-2, 2023.

Looking at the France-Mongolia equation, it can be expected that various agreements and partnerships based on cooperation and development will be on the agenda with Macron’s visit. It is known that the French company “Badrah Energy” is engaged in uranium mining in the Dornogovi Province.[1] Currently, Mongolia is an important supplier of uranium. In this context, steps towards uranium-based cooperation between France and Mongolia can be taken. Moreover, proposals for developing cooperation on nuclear energy can also be put forward.

Parallel to the increasing interest from Europe towards Central Asian countries, steps are also being taken towards Mongolia. The visits made are very important in terms of showing this. As it will be remembered, in 2022, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Ulaanbaatar. As in the region, there is also a search in Mongolia to reduce Russia’s influence. It can be predicted that Macron’s visit will prepare the ground for agreements aimed at reducing Russian influence in the country.

The visit of Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene to Germany and Polish President Andrzej Duda’s visit to Mongolia also show the point reached in Europe-Mongolia relations.

During his visit to Germany in October 2022, Oyun-Erdene emphasized the importance of maintaining high-level political dialogue, strengthening mutual understanding, and expanding relations and cooperation in the economy, trade, and other areas with Germany.[2] German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also described Mongolia as an important strategic partner. He also mentioned a desire to increase energy and infrastructure partnerships.[3] Therefore, it can be said that both sides want to deepen their cooperation.

Mongolia’s wealth of significant commodities, such as copper and rare earth metals, is of interest to European partners. It is known that Germany also aims to strengthen its ties with Mongolia in this regard. Therefore, France may similarly request to develop various projects. In this sense, Macron’s visit will increase the international value of Ulaanbaatar. In addition, the visit is critical in balancing the influence of China and Russia.

The Polish President’s visit to Mongolia was completed on 27 April 2023. Duda, who visited for three days, expressed that Mongolia is a critical partner with great potential and expressed their desire to cooperate in the future. There are agreements between the parties on economic cooperation, including in the fields of natural resources and science.[4] The Parties agree that the existing cooperation should be enhanced and carried forward.

However, Duda’s visit brought economic and trade partnerships as well as diplomatic developments. The President of Poland announced the opening of the Polish Embassy in Ulaanbaatar. This development is noteworthy in terms of strengthening mutual diplomatic ties and paving the way for various collaborations in other areas.

It can be observed that Mongolia is inclined to maintain its partnerships with Asia-based allies, in addition to its relations developed with European partners. This is also reflected in recent developments that have come to the forefront in the country’s agenda, in addition to the expected visit of Macron. Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh visited China on May 1-2, 2023, upon the invitation of Qin Gang, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China. This was Batmunkh’s third visit to China in the past year.[5] The frequent high-level visits are an indication of strong relations between China and Mongolia.

Batmunkh’s visit to China on May 1-2, 2023, upon the invitation of Chinese State Counselor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, is in line with recent developments in the country, including Macron’s expected visit. The main purpose of Batmunkh’s visit is to finalize the issues agreed upon by the leaders of the two countries in November 2022. During their meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh reached an agreement to sign 16 documents covering various areas. It is known that this visit is aimed at implementing these agreements.[6]

On the other hand, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin called on Mongolia to deepen the Belt and Road Initiative.[7] Undoubtedly, economic and trade relations form the basis of Beijing-Ulaanbaatar relations. In this context, the Belt and Road Initiative is of strategic importance for both sides. Initiatives to deepen development strategies are also important in this respect. It can be said that the Beijing administration, which desires the further development of trade and diplomatic relations, is aware of Europe’s increasing interest in Mongolia.

It is understood that Mongolia is making efforts to pursue a balanced policy by developing its ties with both sides. Therefore, while strengthening its existing ties with China on one hand, it also seeks new agreements and areas of cooperation with European partners on the other. Ulaanbaatar is taking advantage of the increasing interest in order to convert it into gains and avoid one-sided dependencies as much as possible.

In summary, it can be said that Ulaanbaatar is pursuing a balanced policy between Europe and China, particularly focusing on utilizing its rich resources. As a country that adopts a multidimensional relationship style, it is possible to predict that visits between Mongolia and European countries will continue to increase. In this context, new agreements and partnerships may be discussed in bilateral cooperation. In addition, it is clear that Mongolia’s traditional ties with China will also continue, and new cooperation mechanisms can be established in various sectors within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. As indicated by the increasing visits of Western countries and statements by Beijing, Mongolia’s position in global politics will continue to strengthen.

[1] “President of France to Visit Mongolia at End of May”, AKI Press,, (Date of Accession: 01.05.2023).

[2] “Mongolian Prime Minister to Pay Official Visit to Germany”, Montsame,, (Date of Accession: 01.05.2023).

[3] “Bilateral Cooperation to be Expanded With Germany”, The UB Posts,, (Date of Accession: 01.05.2023).

[4] “Polish, Mongolian Presidents Meet Hoping for Revival of Mutual Ties”, Tvp World,, (Date of Accession: 01.05.2023).

[5] “China-Mongolia Ties: Mongolian Foreign Minister to Visit China on May 1-2”, CGTN,, (Date of Accession: 01.05.2023).

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Qin Gang Says to Deepen BRI Cooperation With Mongolia”, CGTN,–1js6W7gVADC/index.html, (Date of Accession: 01.05.2023).

Şeyma KIZILAY, 2016 yılında Erciyes Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2019 yılında Kırşehir Ahi Evran Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu ‘’Uluslararası İlişkilerde Ulus İnşası Bağlamında Irak Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Doktora eğitimine Uludağ Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda devam eden Kızılay, tez aşamasındadır. Başlıca çalışma alanları; güvenlik, terörizm, Afganistan ve Pakistan’dır. Kızılay, iyi derecede İngilizce ve orta seviyede Arapça bilmektedir.