1 ERDENES TAVAN TOLGOI REVENUE SURGES DUE TO HIGHER COAL PRICES WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/09/20      2 RUSSIA AND MONGOLIAN BORDER CROSSING NO. 487 WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/09/20      3 WORLD ECONOMICS REPORTS THAT MONGOLIA’S EMPLOYMENT RATE HITS A FIVE-YEAR HIGH WWW.GOGO.MN PUBLISHED:2018/09/20      4 USD HITS RECORD HIGH IN MONGOLIA DUE TO HIGHER IMPORTS WWW.CHINA.ORG.CN PUBLISHED:2018/09/20      5 READOUT OF VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE’S MEETING WITH PRIME MINISTER UKHNAA KHURELSUKH OF MONGOLIA WWW.WHITEHOUSE.GOV PUBLISHED:2018/09/20      6 MONGOLIA LAUNCHES EU-FUNDED PROJECTS TO PROMOTE GREEN DEVELOPMENT, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2018/09/20      7 COAL EXPORTS FROM TOP SHIPPER HOBBLED WITH MINERS FACING CONSTRAINTS WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2018/09/20      8 FRONTIER'S "INVEST MONGOLIA TOKYO 2018" WWW.MONGOLIANBUSINESSDATABASE.COM PUBLISHED:2018/09/19      9 U.S.-CHINA TRADE TUSSLE IS CREATING WINNERS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA WWW.BLOOMBERG.COM PUBLISHED:2018/09/19      10 YUSAKU MAEZAWA: THE JAPANESE BILLIONAIRE WHO WANTS TO FLY TO THE MOON WWW.BBC.COM PUBLISHED:2018/09/19      ШЕНГЕНИЙ БОГИНО ХУГАЦААНЫ ВИЗИЙН МЭДҮҮЛГИЙГ УЛААНБААТАР ХОТОД АВНА WWW.MEDEE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/19     2018 ЭХНИЙ 7 САРД МОНГОЛЧУУД ГАДААД РУУ ЭМЧИЛГЭЭНД ЯВАХДАА 19.5 САЯ АМ.ДОЛЛАР ЗАРЦУУЛЖЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/19     ӨНӨӨДӨР ТӨВ ТАЛБАЙД 4000 АЖЛЫН БАЙРАНД БҮРТГЭНЭ WWW.DNN.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/19     ЗАЛУУЧУУДЫН ГАРААНЫ БИЗНЕСИЙН ШАЛГАРСАН ТӨСӨЛД 10,0 САЯ ТӨГРӨГИЙН ДЭМЖЛЭГ ҮЗҮҮЛЛЭЭ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/19     WORLD ECONOMICS: МОНГОЛЫН АЖИЛ ЭРХЛЭЛТИЙН ТҮВШИН СҮҮЛИЙН 5 ЖИЛИЙН ДЭЭД ТҮВШИНД ХҮРЛЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/19     ERD: "ХӨНДИЙ" АЛТНЫ ТӨСЛИЙН ТОГТООГДСОН НӨӨЦ 751 МЯНГАН УНЦ АЛТ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/19     ХЯТАДЫН $200 ТЭРБУМЫН ИМПОРТОД ТАРИФ ТОГТООВ WWW.ZGM.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/19     ШИВЭЭХҮРЭН БООМТООР ХОНОГТ 60-80 МЯНГАН ТОНН НҮҮРС ЭКСПОРТОЛЖ БАЙНА WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/19     БНХАУ-ЫН 200 ТЭРБУМ АМ.ДОЛЛАРЫН ИМПОРТОД 10 ХУВИЙН ТАРИФ НОГДУУЛАХ ШИЙДВЭР ИРЭХ 7 ХОНОГООС ХЭРЭГЖИНЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/18     ӨВӨЛ ЦАХИЛГААН СААТВАЛ ХОТ ДӨРВӨН ЦАГИЙН ДОТОР Л ХӨЛДӨНӨ WWW.ZGM.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/18    

Events

Name organizer Where
Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018" Frontier Securities Tokyo Japan
"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London

NEWS

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Free trade zone between EAEU and Mongolia can be created in 2018 www.tass.com

VLADIVOSTOK, September 6. /TASS/. The conclusion of an agreement on a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Mongolia may be held already in 2018, Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy told TASS on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum.

He also co-chairs the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Mongolia.
"We plan it next year," he said.
Donskoy also stressed that interregional and cross-border trade is one of the key areas of interaction and development of economic relations.
"70% of the growth that we see is trade between neighboring regions, so from the point of view proposals to establish a free trade zone were made. No final decision has been made yet," the minister said.
Abolition of visas, growth of tourist traffic and trade
Introduction of a visa-free regime between Russia and Mongolia in November 2014 had a significant impact on the development of economic integration, acting Minister of Economy of Russia’s republic of Buryatia Zandra Sangadiyev said.
He referred to statistics showing that in 2016, 418,000 Mongolian citizens visited Buryatia, which is 2.2 times more than in 2015.
The annual foreign trade turnover between Buryatia and Mongolia exceeds $30 million. According to the Ministry of Economy of the republic, last year exports amounted to more than $26 million, imports were at about $6 million.
Today, the economic relations between the region and the neighboring state are governed mainly by the agreement between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of Mongolia on economic and transboundary cooperation that was signed in 1999.

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The Russian Railway have offered Mongolia joint participation in the capital of the Russian ports - RIA Novosti www.newletter.us

VLADIVOSTOK, 6 Sep — RIA Novosti. The Russian Railway have suggested Mongolia to study a possibility of joint participation in the capital of the Russian ports, the president of the Russian company Oleg Belozerov has reported. "I want to pay attention that at the potential of cooperation it is impossible to become isolated within one branch, one type of transport. As I have already told, goods have to move by rail and arise need of transportations through port capacities. Respectively, it is possible to consider specialization option, maybe, of joint participation in port economy — either repayment, or some other participation. Too it is necessary to consider it" — Belozerov has reported, speaking at East economic forum.© RIA Novosti / Vitaly Ankovpereyti in a fotobanksotrudnichestvo with Russia: the governor of California has told about the purposes on ВЭФОн has added that the company is ready to provide in return all necessary technical and technological assistance. "The Russian Railway holding has wide experience of implementation of the international infrastructure project" — Belozerov has emphasized. East economic forum is held in Vladivostok for the third time, this year from September 6 to September 7. The President of Russia Vladimir Putin, among guests of a forum — the prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and the president of South Korea Mun Zhe Ying takes part in him. IIA Russia Today is a general information partner of the WEF-2017.

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Korea, Mongolia collaborate on regional security www.korea.net

President Moon Jae-in held summit talks with his Mongolian counterpart, President Khaltmaa Battulga, on Sept. 6 during his visit to Vladivostok, Russia. The two leaders shared their ideas on how to cooperate on regional security. 

“Our two countries have many things in common, both ethnically and linguistically. We are like brother countries, as we are very close to each other, both historically and geographically,” said President Moon. He said that this meeting would help to increase the personal trust between him and the Mongolian president, and, also, would lay a solid foundation for better ties between the two countries. 

The president also outlined his plan to establish the “Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative” through which six countries -- Korea, the U.S., Japan, China, Russia and Mongolia -- aim to pursue peace and security across the region by discussing ways to cooperate on threats like North Korea. 

“If we work together to launch this platform, it would be possible to combine it with the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue Initiative, a consultative body for Northeast Asian security initiated by the Mongolian government," he said.

As for the current security crisis on the Korean Peninsula caused by North Korea’s ceaseless provocations, President Moon said, “It’s inevitable that we increase U.N. Security Council sanctions and pressure the regime. I call on the Mongolian government to join forces with the international community if it decides to cut off crude oil supplies to Pyongyang.”

President Battulga said, “Our government takes advantage of the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue Initiative to deter Pyongyang from conducting its nuclear weapons tests. Just like Korea, our country, too, remains divided in two: Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia. We fully understand your pain.”

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Mongolia’s Local Leaders Essential to Urban Service Delivery www.asiafoundation.org

In Mongolia’s 2016 parliamentary elections, the opposition party won a landslide victory—taking 65 of the 76 seats, on a promise to boost the economy and tackle poverty. In 2011, Mongolia’s economy grew by 17 percent and attracted billions of dollars in foreign investment. Now, the country is in a state of financial crisis.

For years, Mongolia’s resource-dependent economy outpaced most of the world. But a decline in commodity export revenues and foreign investment sent growth to just 1 percent last year. Many see the opposition party’s win as a reflection of citizen frustration with a slumping economy and rise in unemployment. In the capital, Ulaanbaatar, where much of the city’s growth is taking place within its ger areas, which are sprawling, unplanned neighborhoods now home to 60 percent of the city’s total population, poor access to public services has risen as another major concern. While elected leaders set their priorities at the national level, unelected community leaders are playing an essential role in the delivery of public services in local areas.
Mongolia community mapping
According to an Asia Foundation survey, most people look to local, unelected leaders for assistance with public services. Here, local leaders are trained on how to use community maps to improve service delivery.
Mongolia’s civil service lacks a government-led, centralized personnel management agency, leaving the day-to-day management responsibility to respective budget and ministerial entities. Instead, Mongolia exercises the use of a Civil Service Council (CSC), which is an independent body that reports directly to Parliament. The CSC is tasked with personnel oversight, policy, and personnel management functions. This includes the monitoring of the civil service to assure adequate control of its functioning and the enforcement of its rules.
Ulaanbaatar has three levels of municipal administration: The Capital City mayor’s and governor’s office, nine district centers, and 152 khoroo offices. The khoroo represents the smallest sub-administrative unit within the city’s confines and is where citizens most frequently request services. According to a recent survey conducted by The Asia Foundation of 866 residents of Ulaanbaatar, more than half of respondents (53.2%) said that they seek out khoroo governors and staff if they need information and have complaints regarding public services. Interestingly, 42.5 percent of respondents said that they would seek out kheseg (neighborhood) leaders, who are community administrators serving local neighborhoods within a khoroo. According to the same survey, kheseg leaders are the preferred method for citizens to receive information regarding all government related public administrative services.
While the Capital City Governor and Mayor’s Four-Year Plan (2016-2020) places greater importance on training programs for its civil servants, there remain shortcomings. In the past, efforts to improve the performance of civil servants have lacked a comprehensive training framework to guide and provide continuous professional development to the city’s civil servants. Though training materials exist for some khoroo-level staff and administrators, they are neither standardized nor kept up-to-date. There is also no discretionary budget allocated at the khoroo-level for training.
Essential public services are delivered at the khoroo-level, including permanent address references, issuance of identification certificates, and reference materials for the unemployed. As a result, the lack of training at this level of municipality can impact the quality of services being rendered. Since khoroo staff receive ad hoc training, they often remain dependent on district staff for assistance, creating bottlenecks in terms of service delivery. Further, since kheseg leaders are not considered civil servants, they receive even less access to formal training and in terms of incentives, they receive modest remuneration, which can vary by district. Despite these administrators making barely above the minimum wage, they are often tasked with critical responsibilities such as gathering census data, registering citizens, health awareness, and as such, remain essential conduits for local support to citizens.
The Asia Foundation is working with the city to help train khoroo civil servants and administrators. In April and May of 2017, we organized the first-ever city-wide training for 1,412 kheseg leaders of the 152 khoroos of Ulaanbaatar, with a cost-sharing model with the Ulaanbaatar City government. The three-day workshop included trainings on improving workplace efficiency, communication skills, collecting data and evaluation skills, basic legal knowledge, and citizen participation and monitoring. Overall, the response from participants was overwhelmingly positive, and the Foundation plans to hold refresher trainings in 2018.
To ensure sustainable and inclusive growth, Mongolia must focus on improving its human capacity in the public sector. Trainings such as these are a critical first step toward empowering civil servants to better serve their communities. By enhancing the capacity of front-line administrators, this can systematically improve transparency and accountability of the government.

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Pasture degradation threatens Mongolia's cashmere industry www.asia.nikkei.com

NOMGON SOUM, Mongolia In the Mongolian Gobi Desert, Batchuluun's herd of more than 1,000 goats produces valuable cashmere wool that enables him to support a family of five in a traditional ger, or tent. It is equipped with solar panels, a TV and smartphones, and a Kia Frontier truck is parked out front.

But the nomadic herder is most proud that he is passing on this traditional way of life to the next generation. His middle son dropped out of school to return to the ger and take up herding.

"Our herding culture is thousands of years old in Mongolia, and I am very happy that he will continue," he said.

Proud though he is of his traditional lifestyle, it is threatened by its own success. The cashmere trade that underpins the herder economy is leading to widespread pasture degradation and desertification, putting the long-term sustainability of the industry in doubt. Some 70% of Mongolia's pastures, which make up over 70% of the country's landmass, are showing signs of degradation, according to research by the Wildlife Conservation Society Mongolia, while 2% are severely degraded.

"The main reasons for pasture degradation are livestock density per area and too little movement in summer," said botanist Bolor-Erdene Lkhamsuren, a rangeland specialist with WCS.


A worker on a farm in Mongolia's Omnogovi Province uses a comb to gather fine cashmere fibers from the hair of a bound goat. (Photo by Tim Ferry)
Mongolia is the world's second-largest producer of raw, or washed, cashmere. Exports of raw and processed cashmere amounted to nearly 9,000 tons in 2015, according to a report by Mongolia International Capital Corp. -- a compound annual growth rate of 36.3% since 2006. Herders generally sell their cashmere to dealers, who this spring paid anywhere from 65,000 to 100,000 tugrik ($26-$41) a kilogram, according to Mongolia's National Statistical Office, depending on the month and region. More than 25.5 million goats are being raised in the country.

Several nongovernmental organizations are involved in educating herders on better pasture management techniques and the value of focusing on product quality rather than quantity.

INCENTIVE TO CHANGE WCS Mongolia recently concluded its second annual direct buy of cashmere at the Nomgon soum (an administrative district) center in Omnogovi Province, in which it offered an incentive payment about 15% above the market price in exchange for a pledge by herders to engage in more sustainable practices. The incentive payment is "to demonstrate the concept that you can get paid more if you make the effort and do certain activities differently," said Onon Bayasgalan, coordinator of the WCS project.

The results of the sale were promising, and in only its second year the program attracted around 100 herders. Many more are looking to join next year.

One of the sustainable practices is adhering to a pasture use agreement, a pact made among groups of herders to prevent overgrazing and degradation. Nearly all of Mongolia's territory is public land, and herders are free to move their camps and herds as they see fit. But herders are also tightly regulated by tradition, with families claiming priority in recognized winter and summer camps. Herders move their herds from two to 20 times a year, depending on the rains and available fodder, and many say they are seeing degradation.

Through an established cooperative in the region, the WCS team helped to organize herders into groups of 10 families to map out their traditional pastures and coordinate more effectively. "Pasture rotation is the main solution," said Onon.

Pasture use agreements are also being deployed by other NGOs, including France's Agronomes et Veterinaires Sans Frontieres and Switzerland's Green Gold, as well as the Sustainable Fiber Alliance, a local community organization set up by Una Jones, a Mongolian who witnessed environmental devastation during the country's transition from socialism to a market economy in the 1990s. But the reach of these groups is limited, and even in regions where they are operating, not every herder will join.

NGOs envision a day when independent auditors will certify herders as engaging in sustainable practices for higher prices, akin to the "Fair Trade" system for coffee and other goods, but this remains years away.

Some herders, including Batchuluun's neighbor, Dalaisaikhan, suggest a tax on herds over a certain size. "If there is a tax on goats over 500 head, that would be good for Mongolia's economic development and would serve to limit herd sizes," Dalaisaikhan said, even though his own herd numbers more than 700 head.

Questions also remain about the scale of demand for higher quality cashmere. The high end of the luxury market has shrunk relative to the surging "fast fashion" market, and demand for high-quality cashmere has not kept pace.

Much of Mongolia's cashmere is exported for use in production overseas, despite ongoing regulatory reforms and investment in the local textile and apparel industries. An estimated 70-90% is sent to textile and garment mills in neighboring Inner Mongolia, a Chinese autonomous region, which receive state subsidies and produce 70% of the world's cashmere garments.

BUILDING VALUE However, recent legislation now prevents raw cashmere from being exported before it has undergone at least minimal processing, helping to build up a larger local processing and manufacturing industry. Several local cashmere apparel makers have achieved sizable international sales of locally produced clothing, including Oyuna, which contracts its designs to local manufacturers, and the Gobi Corp., a vertically integrated Mongolian manufacturer that operates outlets around the world.


A worker collects washed cashmere at a cashmere processing factory in Ulaanbaatar. © Reuters
U.S.-based startup Naadam Cashmere takes a different approach to sustainability by buying directly from herders in Mongolia in exchange for exclusive access to their cashmere. According to Matt Scanlan, chief executive and co-founder of Naadam, "No amount of nonprofit work will replace buying cashmere for business. We want to build a sustainable market."

The value of Mongolian cashmere apparel exports increased to $9.6 million in 2016, according to research by MICC, up nearly 200% since 2009, although still a small slice of the $4.3 billion global cashmere apparel industry as measured by Bain & Co.

Desertification is not the only threat to Mongolian herders' livelihoods. Global climate change has increased the severity of the dzud -- intense cold fronts that kill large numbers of animals. Early snows last winter, following an unusually dry summer, are estimated to have killed up to 6% of the livestock in affected regions. An outbreak of the infectious disease peste des petits ruminants, also known as sheep and goat plague, is also said to have impacted herds.

Jones said the SFA is working on building resilience into herder communities to help them withstand these impacts. "We support herding families and communities in how to identify risks and how they can be managed during difficult winters," she said.

Jones, who founded the SFA after research in Mongolia and Europe on cashmere supply chains, said she aims to bring together herders, manufacturers and environmentalists. "We want to increase the availability of sustainably produced cashmere to the world market that safeguards the livelihood of herding families and promotes high-quality cashmere fiber," she said.

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Japan and Mongolia agree on North Korea response and economic cooperation www.japantimes.co.jp

VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga agreed Wednesday to cooperate in dealing with North Korea’s rising nuclear and missiles threat as well as economic matters.

The meeting, held on the sidelines of an economic forum in the Russian Far East port city of Vladivostok, is the leaders’ first since Battulga was elected president in July. Mongolia has diplomatic ties with North Korea, while Japan does not.

Abe told Battulga that North Korea’s nuclear test Sunday, which followed the launch last week of a ballistic missile that flew over northern Japan, poses an “unprecedentedly grave and imminent threat” and is “totally unacceptable,” according to the Foreign Ministry.

Prime Minister Abe underlined the need to strengthen pressure on North Korea, the ministry said.

The leaders confirmed the importance of strictly and fully implementing U.N. Security Council resolutions, it said. The resolutions impose sanctions on North Korea and ban it from conducting nuclear tests and testing ballistic missiles.

They also agreed to seek early resolution of the issue of past abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents. Tokyo expects Ulan Bator’s help in resolving the issue with the country having served as a venue for Japan-North Korea talks over the long-stalled agenda.

“I attach importance to Mongolia as a crucial partner in the region. I hope to promote our bilateral relationship,” Abe said at the start of the meeting, which was open to the media. Battulga said, “I want to contribute to the development of East Asia and the Far East.”

Resource-dependent Mongolia aims to cooperate with Japan on rebuilding and diversifying its economy with a focus on agriculture, manufacturing and pollution control, based on a new medium-term action plan formulated in March.

Mongolia needs to implement fiscal reforms under an International Monetary Fund rescue program after its economy was hit by falls in commodity prices and a slowdown in the Chinese economy, according to the ministry.

Battulga thanked Abe for Japan’s support in developing the Mongolian economy under the IMF rescue program, the ministry said.

The Mongolian leader also told Abe that he has picked Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj, the former sumo grand champion Asashoryu, as his special envoy to promote cooperative ties with Japan.

Abe is on a two-day trip to Vladivostok, during which he will also meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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Centerra Gold shares soar on Kyrgyz settlement talks www.mining.com

Canada's Centerra Gold (TSX:CG) on Wednesday outlined the terms of advanced negotiations with the Kyrgyz Republic in its drawn out environmental dispute over the firm’s Kumtor gold mine in the central Asian nation.

Centerra's press release came after details of the proposed agreement contained in a government statement to a parliamentary committee, appeared in the Kyrgyz media. The proposed settlement agreement would end mutual lawsuits and calls on Toronto-based Centerra to pay $50m to a so-called Nature Development Fund and increase annual contributions to the fund to $3m from $300,000 before. A cancer care support fund set up by the government will receive a further $10m from the company.

Centerra will also invest $6m annually in a Kumtor reclamation fund based inside the country to a minimum of $69m. That figure matches the company's own estimate of the site's total rehabilitation costs.

Centerra cautioned however that the terms are still to be finalized and that its board has not yet formally approved a deal. The Kyrgyz government owns just under a third of Kumtor and the mine contributes nearly 10% of the country's GDP.

The miner, the largest Western-based gold producer in Central Asia, successfully sought international arbitration in May last year, following the Kyrgyz Republic’s string of penalties, fines, accusations of environmental damage and violation of business deals.

Last year a Kyrgyz court ordered Centerra's local subsidiary, Kumtor Gold Company (KGC), to pay about $98m in fines related to mine waste while another government body filed a $230m lawsuit against the firm.

Kumtor, which lies near the Chinese border at an altitude of 4,000 metres, has produced around 11m ounces since inception and remaining reserves are pegged at 5.6m ounces. In November Centerra said it was increasing its gold output guidance for the mine to 525,000 to 555,000 ounces and lowering all-in sustaining cost forecast to $751 – $795 per ounce.

Centerra has been shopping for assets in safer jurisdictions and last year acquired US-based Thompson Creek Metals (TSX:TCM), picking up the Mount Milligan copper-gold mine in British Columbia, Canada, in a $1.1 billion deal.

Shares in Centerra were trading up 8.2% early afternoon in Toronto after a halt on the stock was lifted. The company is worth $2.3 billion on the TSX and is sporting gains of more than 30% so far in 2017.

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Consumer Inflation Expectations Survey Shows Positive Signs www.mongolbank.mn

Mongolbank has conducted its quarterly “survey on the consumer inflation expectation” and the results have showed there is a growing expectation that the tugrug will appreciate against the foreign currency. Furthermore, there are other positive expectations, such as slight decrease in interest rates and improving overall economic performance.

Consumers expect the inflation to be 3.4% by qualitative method, 4.1% by quantitative method, and 5% for sensitivity-based inflation expectations, in Q4 2017.

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Mongolia and Bhutan to increase cooperation www.news.xinhuanet.com

ULAN BATOR, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian Foreign Minister Tsend Munkh-Orgil met with his visiting Bhutanese counterpart Lyonpo Damcho Dorji here on Wednesday on bilateral cooperation.

Noting that Mongolia and Bhutan have a common historical and cultural base, both foreign ministers agreed that the two landlocked countries need to strengthen bilateral, regional and international relations.
Dorji said that Bhutan is ready to boost cooperation with Mongolia in the agricultural, tourism, and health spheres. He also suggested Mongolia to develop a route for Mongolian tourists to Bhutan and to enhance cultural exchange.

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Abe meets Mongolian president www3.nhk.or.jp

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a meeting with Mongolia's new President Khaltmaa Battulga on an island in the south of Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok. It was their first meeting.

Abe arrived in the city by government plane on Wednesday for the Eastern Economic Forum. It brings together government and business officials from Asia-Pacific nations.

Abe met with Battulga at a university on Russky island. The Mongolian leader took office in July.

Abe said he believes President Battulga is familiar with Japanese culture as he was informed the president has a black belt in judo. He said he hopes to work with Mongolia to develop bilateral ties.

Abe regards the country as an important regional partner.

The Japanese leader will meet separately South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday morning and Russian President Vladimir Putin later in the day on the sidelines of the economic forum.

Abe plans to reaffirm with Moon that their countries will work together so that the UN Security Council can adopt a new sanctions resolution against North Korea for its latest nuclear test.

The prime minister will ask Putin to play a constructive role as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Abe hopes the international community will work together to boost pressure on North Korea.

The 2 are also expected to discuss planned joint economic activities on 4 Russian-held islands claimed by Japan.

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