Mongolia Attends ASEAN Regional Forum

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Jul. 12 – Mongolia was in attendance at last week’s 20th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) – entitled the “Asia Regional Forum” – which was held in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of Brunei. Brunei is the current chair of the 10-state Southeast Asian trade bloc.

The forum detailed not just ASEAN-related issues, but also held more holistic discussions relating to other Asia Pacific and North American nations with regard to cooperation in trade and security issues.

Mongolian Foreign Affairs Minister L. Bold was present at the ARF and, on the first day, held bilateral talks with his counterparts from the Philippines, Turkey, North Korea, Russia, Brunei, India and Vietnam. During the talks, Mr Bold reviewed the results of Mongolia’s recently held presidential elections with the various other ministers in addition to speaking of the country’s current political and economic state. He also spoke of Mongolia’s desire to further expand and develop close bilateral relations with these nations, such as through the easing of visa regulations and further increasing economic ties.

Mr Bold also held meetings with the foreign affairs ministers of South Korea, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Singapore and Pakistan.

In total, at the ARF were all 10 ASEAN foreign ministers, in addition to foreign representatives from the United States, China, Russia, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, North Korea, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Sri Lanka and the EU.

Mongolia just recently took a big step forward in strengthening its ties with ASEAN by assigning a permanent representative to the 10-member bloc. Mongolian Ambassador Tserendorj Jambaldorj, with newly minted title Chief of the Permanent Representative Mission to ASEAN, first took up the position on June 21, 2013.

Total trade between ASEAN and Mongolia in 2011 amounted to US$129.4 million, with Mongolia importing US$120.25 million worth of goods from ASEAN while exporting just US$9.15 million to the Southeast Asian bloc.

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