Vice President Kamala Harris welcomed Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai to Washington, D.C., on August 2nd to celebrate the strategic Third Neighbor partnership between Mongolia and the United States. The two sides acknowledged the advancement of Mongolia-U.S. relations since the 2019 declaration of the two countries’ Strategic Partnership, which has provided a firm foundation to promote and strengthen bilateral relations. Ties between our two countries are at their strongest point yet and have developed on the basis of shared principles, respect for good governance, sovereignty, the rule of law, and human rights, as well as Mongolia’s Third Neighbor policy.
The United States applauded Mongolia’s efforts to expand relations in the region and around the world, thus contributing to international stability. In this context, our two countries shared respective views on ensuring a prosperous, peaceful, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. Together, Mongolia and the United States are expanding our strategic partnership with a focus on building economic resilience, promoting democratic principles and institutions, and strengthening our security cooperation. As strategic Third Neighbors, we will sustain our close partnership and forge ties between our citizens to ensure their continued prosperity and security.
Deepening Economic Cooperation
Mongolia and the United States are partnering on joint responses to the 21st century’s most difficult economic challenges, exploring opportunities to increase trade and investment through bilateral cooperation and regional trade mechanisms. Our countries share a desire to deepen the bilateral economic relationship in areas of mutual interest and to pursue opportunities for cooperation in the mineral resources sector, clean energy, food security, and the digital economy through existing and new mechanisms, including for capacity building and trade promotion.
Mongolia introduced the priorities of Mongolia’s New Recovery policy and related project implementation through public-private partnerships and Mongolia’s Vision-2050 long-term development policy. Both Governments welcomed the signing of an updated Economic Cooperation Roadmap that will serve as the foundation for increased commercial and economic ties between our countries in the coming years. They welcomed the visit of a Mongolian trade mission to the United States and a U.S. Certified Trade Mission to Mongolia in 2023.
The United States expressed continued support for the strengthening of Mongolia’s democracy through diversifying its economy, bolstering energy security, enhancing food security, and supporting the transition to renewables. The two sides are launching new partnerships in the areas of minerals and energy. In particular, Mongolia and the United States recognize the importance of critical minerals to the global supply chain and are deepening cooperation in this sector. We welcome the June 27 signing of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding concerning cooperation on mineral resource sector development and governance, as well as the June trilateral dialogue between Mongolia, the United States, and Republic of Korea in Ulaanbaatar to support the development of Mongolia’s mining sector.
Mongolia and the United States are both committed to combating the climate crisis and to our respective 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. The United States is committed to working with Mongolia to improve capacity to develop and implement ambitious climate change mitigation and adaptation policies in sectors such as agriculture and clean energy by welcoming Mongolia’s commitment to work on climate and conservation issues, including through Mongolia’s endorsement of the Global Methane Pledge, hosting of the UN High-Level Forum on Clean Air, and President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa’s “One Billion Trees” initiative. Mongolia noted its support for the sustainable use of Mongolian water resources via the joint U.S.-Mongolia Millennium Challenge Water Compact. Mongolia and the United States are also exploring additional areas of collaboration on renewable energy and energy security, including via discussions in the next bilateral Energy Security Dialogue.
Both Governments hailed the new Open Skies Agreement as a clear indicator of the strong Third Neighbor partnership between Mongolia and the United States. The Agreement will facilitate air services between Mongolia and the United States as well as expanding our strong economic and commercial partnership, promoting people-to-people ties, and creating new opportunities for trade and tourism. Both sides expressed their commitment to high standards of aviation safety and security. At the request of the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration plans to provide technical assistance to the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia in support of civil aviation safety later this year.
The United States commended Mongolia’s work to promote good governance, a favorable business environment, and private sector-driven economic growth and supported the development of Mongolia’s legal and regulatory framework and institutional capacity based on international best practices. Mongolia and the United States highlighted the importance of strengthening Mongolia’s business climate, including through continued implementation of Mongolia-U.S. Agreement on Transparency in Matters Related to International Trade and Investment which further recognizes that increasing the transparency and predictability of the business environment will catalyze private sector trade and investment, and they noted that the two sides plan to hold a meeting of Mongolia- U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council in Mongolia later this year. They also support the development of transparent market mechanisms for the trade of export commodities.
Mongolia and the United States support private-sector initiatives to develop the digital economy and information and communication technologies, and we see cooperation in this space as essential for promoting digital trade and cyber security. Both sides highlighted the importance of Mongolia- U.S. collaboration to harness the benefits of the digital transformation, e-trade, and e-commerce. Our combined efforts will facilitate improved payment solutions, skills development, access to financing, and prevention of digital and Internet crime. The two sides reiterated their willingness to explore cooperation in cyber technology and welcomed the announcement of private upskilling programs for information and communications technology teachers in high-demand tech skills ranging from cybersecurity to data analytics.
Mongolia and the United States also discussed ways to increase Mongolia-U.S. space and technology cooperation, including through the development of a bilateral space dialogue. Both countries are working towards advancing space situational awareness cooperation and ensuring a peaceful, safe, secure, and sustainable space environment.
Mongolia and the United States recognize that people-to-people ties between our two countries are an indispensable pillar of our partnership, manifested in their immense economic and commercial contributions to both the Mongolia and the United States. These ties have been nourished by English officially becoming the primary foreign language in secondary schools of Mongolia, and by English education and community development training programs provided by the United States. To this end, Mongolia and the United States are pleased to announce an intention to open a new American Space in Erdenet with programming that will expand access to English language education and increase knowledge of study and exchange opportunities in the United States. The United States is also working to expand its English Teaching Assistants program in Mongolia by adding fifty percent more positions. Mongolia and the United States reaffirmed their shared commitment to expand education cooperation, building on the more than $2 million annually the United States already dedicates to education and exchange in Mongolia, especially increased opportunities for Mongolians to pursue higher level education in the United States by offering more government-funded scholarships, growing our longstanding Fulbright binational partnership, and helping train even more English language teachers. The leaders welcomed 32 years of efforts by the U.S. Peace Corps, as well as the efforts of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Defense Language Institute, and other institutions to expand English language training programs and deepen Mongolia’s Third Neighbor connections with the United States.
Promoting Democratic Principles
Mongolia and the United States underscore the importance of strong democratic institutions, rule of law, media freedom, and respect for human rights, including the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Mongolia and the United States are committed to fortifying our societies by empowering civil society organizations—particularly those focused on youth and gender equality—to ensure the continued effectiveness of our democratic institutions. Mongolia and the United States also promoted increased social accountability to reinforce government responsiveness and noted the vital importance of increasing public participation in the democratic process and announced the signing of a new USAID–Ministry of Finance Development Objective Grant Agreement, valued at up to $25 million, to strengthen democratic governance, promote clean energy, and advance a resilient, diversified, and inclusive economy. Working with Congress, USAID plans to invest an initial $12 million into the agreement this year to support core lines of effort in partnership with Mongolia. USAID is also providing $600,000 in additional support for disaster preparedness programs to build communities’ resilience to dzuds and other hazards.
The United States commended Mongolia for its rigorous agenda to combat corruption through its five key measures. Mongolia expressed appreciation for U.S. assistance that has contributed to Mongolia’s development of effective judicial and law enforcement practices. Both sides noted that since 2018, Mongolia and the United States have effectively cooperated through substantive technical assistances, such as equipment, training, and exchanges for Mongolian criminal justice agencies to improve transparency and combat corruption. Mongolia and the United States are also working to increase cooperation and information sharing between our respective law enforcement agencies to improve border security and address transnational crime, including the trafficking of drugs, humans, cultural property, and wildlife, as well as financial crimes such as money laundering.
Mongolia and the United States noted the importance of fair, equitable, and transparent policies that are representative of our respect for individual freedoms, and reaffirmed their commitment to the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and religion or belief. In line with these commitments, Mongolia and the United States are both members of the Freedom Online Coalition and are working together to globally advance a vision of a free and open Internet.
Maintaining free and open access to information is key to ensuring that democratic principles and institutions endure. As such, both sides welcomed the launch of USAID’s Media and Civil Society Strengthening program, which will build on Mongolia’s leadership as a democracy in the Indo-Pacific region. Mongolia and the United States are committed to enhancing social accountability mechanisms and improvements in public access to information. The United States emphasized that Mongolia’s principles supporting the free flow of information promote the country’s independence, sovereignty, and security.
Both sides also reviewed the success of the first-ever Strategic Dialogue between Mongolia and the United States in 2022, the continuation of Mongolia-U.S.-Japan trilateral talks in 2022, and the first-ever Mongolia-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) trilateral talks in 2023. These diplomatic engagements are an expression of shared values and our commitment to further strengthen our democratic institutions.
Strengthening Security Cooperation
Mongolia and the United States had an open exchange of views on the regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest, and both committed to engage further in strategic security cooperation. Mongolia and the United States are strengthening their Third Neighbor defense cooperation, based on a shared desire for a stable and peaceful Indo-Pacific region, including by working to address non-traditional defense and security challenges. The United States is committed to working with Mongolia to develop and strengthen regional security partnerships and to enhance Mongolia’s international interoperability, including through the annual, multinational Khaan Quest exercise hosted by the Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF).
The United States supports Mongolia’s long-standing commitment to international Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) and safeguarding human rights and democracy around the world. The United States noted that the MAF has international recognition as a highly qualified, reliable security provider and thanked Mongolia for the MAF’s contributions to coalition security efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan that directly benefited the Afghan people, the United States, and U.S. partners and allies. Mongolia highlighted that the MAF manages a UN-certified, professionally run regional training center capable of conducting pre-deployment training, supporting key UN PKO courses, and executing a multinational peacekeeping exercise. Both sides welcomed enhanced MAF participation in U.S. military education and training opportunities to facilitate MAF development and establish long-term rapport between our militaries’ leaders. The United States also noted the 20 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles that Mongolia will be receiving from the United States in support of Mongolia’s UN peacekeeping missions.
Both sides recognized the importance of engaging constructively on regional and global security issues of concern. They noted with deep concern the humanitarian consequences of the war in Ukraine and support any effort to foster a restoration of a sustainable peace based on international law. Both sides also reiterated their commitment to diplomacy with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as the only viable means of achieving lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and call on the DPRK to refrain from further violations of UN Security Council Resolutions and return to negotiations.
Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene and Vice President Harris share the highest level of confidence that the increasing ties between our two nations will grow even stronger as our people forge ever closer friendships. Together, we will show the world that our strategic Third Neighbor partnership will lead to our nations’ continued prosperity, peace, and security.