Korea, Mongolia agree on resources cooperation deal
The leaders of Korea and Mongolia Monday agreed to promote bilateral cooperation in the areas of natural resources and energy during a summit meeting here. President Lee Myung-bak and his Mongolian counterpart Tsakhia Elbegdorj also agreed to elevate their relationship to a “comprehensive partnership” in a symbolic commitment to bolster ties in all areas.The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1990.
Lee pledged to help Mongolia boost its economy with a tailored aid program in infrastructure building, health, information technology and air pollution.
In return, the resource-rich Central Asian country will work closely with the Korean government to allow Korean firms to invest in coal, copper, uranium and steel in Mongolia.
“I and President Elbegdorj agreed to expand cooperation in minerals, infrastructure building and energy,” Lee said during a joint press conference after the summit.
“Along with economic development, we also agreed to cooperate in environmental protection and green growth. Korea will assist Mongolia’s development projects, including rural development in eastern Mongolia,” he said. “Korea will kick off a pilot farmland project in Halh Gol in eastern Mongolia. We will also cooperate to help Mongolia upgrade its human capital.”
They adopted two documents signaling upgraded bilateral ties ― a Korea-Mongolia mid-term action plan and the joint statement.
Under the action plan, the two leaders agreed to operate a joint committee for natural resources and energy on a regular basis.
On the sidelines of the summit, the two governments signed three memorandums of understanding (MOUs).
The Ministry of Knowledge Economy reached a deal with the Mongolian Ministry of Minerals and Natural Resources to build strategic cooperation in natural resources.
Under the plan, the two governments will facilitate collaboration in the renewable energy and technology of the two countries and encourage firms to work together in exploiting resources.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare agreed to work closely together with its Mongolian counterpart to upgrade health conditions there.
Seoul will launch the so-called Seoul Project, in which Korea’s medical institutions will open medical services in the Central Asian country to upgrade their medical technology.
Demand for Korean medical technology is high in Mongolia. In particular, Korea will help Mongolia improve facilities associated with mothers’ and children’s health.
The two sides also signed an MOU to promote cooperation for the peaceful use of nuclear power, uranium and rare earth materials.
The two governments will team up to draw up a Country Partnership to maximize effectiveness.
After the summit, Lee met with Prime Minister Shukhbaatar Batbold and Parliamentary leader Damdin Demberel.
Lee had lunch with young Mongolians with a deep interest in the Korean culture. Mongolian students who studied in Korea and a writer who translated Lee’s autobiography into Mongolian were invited to the lunch.
In the evening, the Korean president met with nearly 100 ethnic Koreans living in Mongolia. Approximately 3,000 ethnic Koreans are living in the country.
Mongolia is Lee’s first stop in his four-day energy diplomacy trip to three Central Asian countries. He will next head to Uzbekistan Tuesday for a summit with that country’s leader.
By Kang Hyun-kyung