Ravdan Bold, Mongolian ambassador to the United States, spoke on the increasingly important role of Mongolia in the international community Tuesday in the ICC.

Describing the history, demographics and economic status of what he described as a “land of history, land of opportunity,” Bold discussed the democratic positioning taken by Mongolia between Central and North East Asia after its independence.

The ambassador also focused on more pressing issues of foreign relations policies and nuclear arms status.

In relation to the external environment during the time of its independence from China in 1921, Mongolia found itself land-locked between the two global superpowers of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. It became the responsibility of the Mongolian government to align itself with either Central Asia or Northeast Asia, Bold said.

Mongolia decided to associate itself with Northeast Asia despite pursuing what Bold called a “treaty on friendly relations between neighbor states.”

This alliance ensured the safety of the nation sustained during future development, and allowed it to pursue two basic principles of foreign policy – non-alignment and engagement – partnering Mongolia with many western powers including both the United States and Canada.

Bold said that Mongolia has continued its stance on neutrality into its nuclear weapons policy. As a result, Mongolia has been granted Nuclear Free Status by the United Nations in both 1990 and 1992.

“It is our dream,” Bold said, to convince both China and Russia to remove nuclear weapons from the areas bordering ongolia to the west in order for it to unite with Central Asia in forming a Nuclear Free Zone. The idea was rejected by both Russia and China on behalf of security and sovereignty issues.

Even without these nuclear weapons, Mongolia still plans to continue working as a liaison between Europe and Asia as well as developing a partnership with the U.S. to fight terrorism, he said.

As a supporter of democracy in inner Asia, Bold said, Mongolia has made the decision to join the U.S. coalition by sending troops into Baghdad, which it did to enhance the Mongolian international reputation.

He said that despite the country’s enclosure between Russia and China, its army was created “not for fighting, but for prestige.” Troops were sent to Iraq in hopes that the peace-oriented army would gain some experience.

Mongolia’s neighboring countries of Russia and China still present challenges that counter its international development and economic growth, Bold said. With half of Mongolia’s exports sent to its neighboring countries, Bold said there is still the problem of China not investing enough.

Mongolia fails to see the large economic influence it expected, he added, and is disappointed by the Sino-Russian strategic partnership that plans to build a gas pipeline between Russia and China by avoiding Mongolia.

Describing Mongolia’s economic growth following its link to Northeast Asia, Bold explained that many changes have been made in Mongolia in the past couple of decades.

With a GDP growth rate of 5.1 percent this past year, Mongolian economic growth is predicted to exceed 8 percent next year, even surpassing that of the United States, due to its leading sectors in mining, production of cashmere and textile exports, tourism and new U.S. investments in oil, Bold said.

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