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Close: Mongolia Related ASX Listed Companies, July 22, 2011
XAM closed up 3.5c to 58.5c
Xanadu Mines Ltd Acquires New Coking Coal Exploration Project As Part Of Strategic Alliance With Noble Group Limited
July 22 (Reuters Key Development) Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX:XAM) announced the finalization of a farm-in agreement on the Javkhlant exploration project (the Project), as part of its strategic alliance with Noble Group Limited (Noble).
The Project is located in the south western Gobi Altai Province of Mongolia, approximately 22 kilometers from the Burgastai border crossing point into China and only 200 kilometers from the Chinese rail network at Hami.
The earn-in agreement will be undertaken via Ekhgoviin Chuluu LLC (EC), the Joint Venture vehicle established to seek out and develop new coking coal opportunities as part of the strategic alliance between Xanadu and Noble.
Under the terms of the agreement, EC can earn up to 80% of the Javkhlant coal exploration licence by meeting various spending commitments over two years. These include up to USD 230,000 on drilling to earn the first 60%, followed by a commitment to complete a JORC resource to earn a further 20%, taking EC's interest to 80% of the Project.
MER closed down 0.5c to 6.5c
MERITUS ANNOUNCES NON-BROKERED PRIVATE PLACEMENT
Jul. 22, 2011 (TheNewswire.ca) -- Vancouver, B.C.: Meritus Minerals Ltd. (TSXV:MER) (OOTC:MERMF) (MML)(TSX-V - MER)(the "Company") announces it will be conducting a non-brokered private placement of up to 8 million units (the "Units") at a price of $0.05 per Unit to raise proceeds of up to $400,000. Each Unit will consist of one common share and one a share purchase warrant with each warrant entitling the holder to acquire one additional common share of the Company at a price of $0.10 per share for a period of 12 months from closing (the "Warrants"), subject to the right of the Company to accelerate the exercise period of the Warrants to 15 days if, after the 4 month hold period has expired, shares of the Company trade above $0.15 for a period of 15 consecutive days.
Finders' fees in accordance with TSX.V policies may be payable in respect to the placement.
The proposed private placement is subject to approval of the TSX Venture Exchange and the funds raised are to be used on the Company's exploration properties and for general corporate purposes.
CAM plans drilling at Handgait molybdneum projects
July 21 (MetalBulletin) Central Asia Metals will start work on a new drilling project at its Handgait molybdenum project in Mongolia, ceo Nick Clarke told MB. The company will spend around $500,000...
Link to article (subscription)
CAML looks for new projects in Kazakhstan, Mongolia
July 20 (MetalBulletin) Kazakhstan and Mongolia-focused Central Asia Metals (CAML) is looking for further development opportunities in Mongolia, possibly with a view to selling them on, in addition to the sale of its Ereen project in the country. Ereen, which is 150km north of Ulan Bator in Mongolia, was being prepared for sale as long ago as November 2010,...
Link to article (subscription)
Link to CAML Presentation, July 2011
MMC: CONNECTED AND CONTINUING CONNECTED TRANSACTIONS
July 22, Mongolia Mining Corporation (HK:975) -- Reference is made to the announcement of the Company dated 23 May 2011.
On 20 July 2011, NIC and Uniservice Solution have been selected, through competitive tendering process, as a supplier of fuel products to the Group and as a service provider for the provision of supporting services for the Company's offices located at Ulaanbaatar and camps located at the UHG deposit, Baruun Naran deposit and TKH, respectively. On 22 July 2011, the Group entered into the following agreements:
(i) Service Agreement between Uniservice Solution and the Group, whereby Uniservice Solution conditionally agreed to provide office and camp supporting services to the Group for a period commencing from the date of the EGM at the earliest to 31 December 2013 for a total consideration of US$73,193,551; and
(ii) Fuel Supply Agreement between NIC and the Group, whereby NIC conditionally agreed to supply fuel products to the Group for a period commencing from the date of the EGM at the earliest to 31 December 2013 for a total consideration of US$667,471,067, and NIC may sub-contract its obligations under the Fuel Supply Agreement to Shunkhlai and Gobi Oil.
The Office and Camp Supporting Service Agreement will be terminated on the date of the EGM when the Service Agreement becomes effective.
To facilitate Uniservice Solution in its provision of services under the Service Agreement, on 22 July 2011, Energy Resources, Enrestechnology, Transgobi and UHG WS, each a whollyowned subsidiary of the Company, entered into the Sale and Purchase Agreement with Uniservice Solution whereby each of Energy Resources, Enrestechnology, Transgobi and UHG WS conditionally agreed to sell and Uniservice Solution conditionally agreed to purchase the Assets.
LISTING RULES IMPLICATIONS
Uniservice Solution is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MCS Holding which indirectly owns a 100% shareholding interest in MCS Mining Group Limited, a substantial Shareholder. As such, Uniservice Solution is a connected person of the Company within the meaning of the Listing Rules. Accordingly, the transactions contemplated under the Service Agreement and the Sale and Purchase Agreement constitute continuing connected transactions and connected transaction of the Company, respectively.
NIC is an associate of each of Petrovis Resources Inc, a substantial Shareholder and Dr. Oyungerel Janchiv, a non-executive Director. Shunkhlai, a sub-contractor of NIC, is an associate of Mr. Batsaikhan Purev, a non-executive Director. Gobi Oil, a sub-contractor of NIC, is no longer a connected person of the Company from 21 June 2011. As such, each of NIC and Shunkhlai is a connected person of the Company and the transactions contemplated under the Fuel Supply Agreement also constitute continuing connected transactions of the Company.
Asia Coal: Annual Report
July 22, Asia Coal Limited (HK:835) –
During the year, the Group continued to engage in coal mining business and distribution of health and beauty products and services and has also expanded into coal transportation business.
In the coal mining segment, the Group continues to hold the mining right to the Saikhan Ovoo coal deposit in the Bulgan province of Mongolia. The JORC compliant Resources Report prepared by an independent technical adviser shows estimated resources for the Saikhan Ovoo coal deposit in excess of 190 million tonnes as follows:
During the year, the Group has engaged 中煤國際工程集團武漢設計研究院 (Wuhan Design & Research Institute of Sino-Coal International Engineering Group) (the "Design Institute") for the feasibility and coal mine and washing plant design in relation to the Saikhan Ovoo coal deposit. The design calls for an estimated production capacity of 2.5 million tonnes of raw coal per annum. The Design Institute is still in the process of preparing the feasibility and design.
During the year under review, the Group has also expanded into the coal transportation business and provides trucking transportation in Mongolia and from Mongolia to China. The Group has encountered various problems such as border crossing control and truck driver management which has limited the transportation volume and is now in the process of correcting the problems.
Puget Ventures Inc. Files Prospectus
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 22, 2011) - PUGET VENTURES INC. ("Puget") (TSX VENTURE:PVS) (the "Company") has filed a preliminary short form prospectus with the securities regulatory authorities in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario with respect to a marketed offering of subscription receipts.
The offering will be for 15,239,000 subscription receipts at a price of $1.05 per subscription receipt for total gross proceeds of $16,000,950. Puget has engaged Mackie Research Capital Corporation to act as agent in the financing.
Upon satisfaction of the release conditions, each subscription receipt will entitle the holder to a unit comprised of one common share of Puget, and one-half of one common share purchase warrant exercisable at $1.50 for a period of 36 months following completion of the offering. The release conditions include the completion of the acquisition by Puget from Imperial Mining Holdings Ltd. of all issued and outstanding securities of Pafra, a wholly owned subsidiary of IMHL, and owner of the Karakul Project, located in Russia's Altai Republic in Southern Siberia, and in Mongolia.
The proceeds will be used to advance and develop the Karakul Project, continue the exploration work at Puget's Werner Lake Belt region in northwest Ontario, Canada, and for working capital purposes.
Related: Shareholders of Puget Ventures Inc. Vote to Approve Deal That Will Transform Company Into Global Cobalt Corporation – Marketwire, July 21
UPDATE 2-Japan complains to Mongolia over Tavan Tolgoi bidding
* Japan says 'extremely regrettable' if Japanese firms excluded
* Four Japanese trading firms sent letter of complaint -sources
* No official response from Mongolia (Adds details, analyst comments)
By Yuko Inoue
TOKYO, July 22 (Reuters) - Japan has joined South Korea in complaining to Mongolia over the bidding process for part of its massive Tavan Tolgoi coal development project, as firms from both countries appear to have been excluded even though they were allied with some of the apparent winning bidders.
Japan's complaint adds to the confusion over the hotly contested deal to develop the world's biggest untapped coking coal deposit after South Korea earlier this month called the process "unclear and unfair."
Mongolia said this month it had picked U.S. miner Peabody Energy , China's Shenhua and a Russian Railway- Mongolia consortium out of six preferred bidders to develop the west Tsankhi deposit, but later said the decision was not final.
Tavan Tolgoi is a coveted project for Japanese and South Korean steel firms in particular which rely on Australia for the majority of their coking coal needs, and were faced with tight supply early this year after devastating floods hit Queensland -- the heart of Australia's coal mining sector.
But Japanese and South Korean firms were not mentioned in the announcement even though they are part of the consortium that includes Russian Railway.
Instead, the announcement said Russian Railway was now part of a consortium with Mongolian firms, but it was unclear which firms were being referred to.
Japanese trading firm Mitsui & Co was also not mentioned although it is a partner of China's Shenhua.
The complaint said Mongolia had persistently called on Japan to help with the development of its mineral resources and that President Tsakhia Elbegdorj `in a visit last November stressed that bilateral partnerships in minerals development would be mutually beneficial, a government source, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.
"If it transpires that Japanese firms are not included in the winning camps, it would go against what the two governments have been working towards", the Japanese letter was quoted as saying.
"It would be extremely regrettable."
But Japanese and South Korean government officials said they have not yet received any official response from Mongolia.
Oscar Mendoza, chief operating officer of the Ulan Bator-based Frontier Securities, said while some of the original bidders have been informed that their bid has been rejected, there was no indication that the Japanese and Korean firms had been formally eliminated from the process.
He said Mongolia originally wanted Shenhua, Peabody and the Russian consortium to decide what stakes would be allocated to their Japanese and Korean partners.
"Erdenes (the state-owned firm in charge of Tavan Tolgoi) said the allocations would be decided internally and it would be up to each company what the percentage would be. If it is going to Shenhua, they have the discretion to decide how much is going to Mitsui."
Company sources said the four Japanese trading firms in the consortium with Russian Railways -- Itochu Corp , Sumitomo Corp , Marubeni Corp and Sojitz Corp -- have also jointly filed a complaint with Mongolia but have yet to receive an official response.
The Tavan Tolgoi coal mine features high-quality hard coking coal, which is used a lot by Japanese steelmakers and demand of which is growing fast in China.
"Demand for hard coking coal is steadily rising," said Takashi Murakami, analyst at SMBC Nikko securities.
"In addition, Japan's trading firms are eager to add high-quality coal assets as they aim to diversify their resources portfolio," he said.
The west Tsankhi block of Mongolia's Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit holds approximately 1.2 billion tonnes of mostly high-priced coking coal used in steel making.
But the area lacks the roads and railways needed to quickly and economically deliver the coal tomarkets. It also lacks the power and water supplies to support big mining camps.
-- Japan foreign ministry denies filing complaint to Mongolia
-- Neither Japan government nor companies have confirmed Japan is excluded
-- Mongolia urges Japanese investment in railway to export coal
(Adds Japan and Mongolia officials met this week in fifth and sixth paragraphs, possible Japan-Mongolia rail investments in seventh paragraph, Japan bidders' names and comments in the final two paragraphs)
July 22, TOKYO -(Dow Jones)- Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday that there have been recent high-level talks with Mongolia over the role of Japanese companies in developing the country's huge mineral reserves, but contrary to a recent report, there was no official complaint from Tokyo about the bidding for a major coal project.
July 22 (Bloomberg) Hurrying into her cramped office deep within Mongolia's huge Soviet-era Government House, Parliament member Sanjaasuren Oyun, 46, is flushed with excitement, a smile creasing her usually serious face.
Wealth, Wise Use
Burnt in Effigy
Years of Neglect
Dazed and Confused
Stabbed to Death
Swing to Populism
July 22 (Eurasianet.org) A shortage of Russian-supplied fuel is underscoring Mongolia's dependency on its giant neighbor. Some experts and officials in Ulaanbaatar are now sounding like European Union leaders in Brussels in publicly speaking out about a need to reduce their country's energy reliance on Russia.
The Mongolian shortage first hit in May after Moscow, citing domestic shortages, raised duties on fuel exports by over 40 percent. Because Mongolia sources over 90 percent of its fuel from Russia, some gas stations were forced to ration out fuel to customers. Prices almost doubled overnight. Many observers suspected the Kremlin was playing a game that it has carefully honed over the years – using energy policy and exports to coerce economic and political concessions from vulnerable, neighboring states.
In Mongolia's case, Russian pressure may be related to Tavan Tolgoi, the world's largest coking coal deposit. Ulaanbaatar is due to announce a tender winner this summer and the three short-listed bidders include Russian, Chinese and American companies. "There could not be a better time for Russia to halt oil exports and, in the meantime, for Mongolia to be reminded of its dependency on its northern neighbor," said a commentary on a local business website, mongolianeconomy.mn.
Because the shortage hit just as warmer days made outdoor work possible, mining operations and agriculture were immediately affected. In Ulaanbaatar, bus fares jumped by 33 percent and taxi drivers increased prices by roughly 20 percent. "I've lost more than half my passengers because more people seem to be taking buses now," said taxi driver Namjil Byambajav, commenting on the squeeze.
By late June, after hurried negotiations with neighboring China and fresh agreements with Russia, officials declared the situation under control. Beijing agreed to send 10,000 tons of fuel per month, while Russia's Rosneft promised another 50,000 tons per month.
Even so, not everyone is convinced the crisis has passed. Fuel prices are currently back to the same as before the crisis, but public transport fares remain inflated, as if anticipating another petrol price jump. The situation may not stabilize until September, when outdoor work slows and demand drops, says Gombo Erdenebayar, manager at New Star Energy, which runs a small chain of gas stations.
Erdenebayar believes the Mongolian government's rejection of a 2008 proposal from state-run Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company, to set up 100 gas stations in Mongolia could also have played a part in the Kremlin's tariff policy. He acknowledged that Russia did experience a domestic shortage. But he remains convinced that, since his country's fuel demand is relatively small, Russia's chief intent with the tariff hike was to bully Ulaanbaatar.
Insecurity over Russia's "arm twisting" and dominance in the sector is justified, says Luvsandendev Sumati, political analyst and director of Sant Maral Foundation, a polling agency. "Russia has a very clear geopolitical strategy here. They are not hiding their interest in local energy resources and they will do whatever they can to uphold their stronghold here," Sumati told EurasiaNet.org.
In a turn of events that also likely displeased Moscow, Ulaanbaatar recently announced plans to stockpile petrol reserves and develop its first modern domestic refining capacity, a move that would bolster its energy independence. Unrefined crude oil is among the country's top five exports – Mongolia exported roughly 2.2 million barrels in 2010, according to government figures. All of its production was extracted by Chinese companies and was exported to China. Some estimates say the country has up to 6 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
"Mongolia had small refineries between 1949 and 1969. For 20 years we could produce up to 30 percent of our domestic requirement. We have oil, so why not now?" said Nanzad Boldkhuu, deputy director of fuel policy at the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy.
But there has been little progress on reestablishing refining capabilities, despite international interest. "Over the years, 17 companies have been given the license to build the refineries, but there are still many issues to settle like environmental impact assessments. … There has been no conclusive resolution from the parliament yet," admitted Boldkhuu.
In October 2010 Marubeni, a Japanese firm, signed an agreement with a local company for a $600-million project to build a refinery in Darkhan, 200 kilometers north of Ulaanbaatar, to be ready by 2014. But little is known of the project's status. Marubeni refused repeated requests for comment.
Given the time required for the refining projects to kick off, for now the only option for Ulaanbaatar is to continue to broker deals with Moscow. "China will step in to help only if their investments here are affected. They barely have enough oil themselves. But to drive our cars, we'll still need Russia," said Erdenebayar from New Star Energy.
Mongolia to import fighter jets from Russia
ULAN BATOR, July 22 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian Defense Ministry will buy five Mikoyan MiG-29, fourth generation fighter jets, from Russia this year, local media said Friday.
Minister of Defense L. Bold also said Mongolia has plenty of good pilots who were trained in Russia.
To date, there is no MiG-29 in Mongolian Air Force. The media said from 1977 to 1984, Mongolia bought 44 MiG-21 aircraft from Russia, but only ten are now still in use.
Mongolia also wants to buy a military transport aircraft to deliver troops, weapons and other military equipment.
India to push N-deals with South Korea, Mongolia
New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) India is set to pursue civil nuclear cooperation with South Korea and Mongolia when President Pratibha Patil goes on a week-long visit to these East Asian countries starting Sunday.
Patil's first stop of her two-nation tour sis Seoul, where she will meet President Lee Myung-bak and a host of senior South Korean leaders. Some economic and culture-related agreements are expected to be signed after the talks.
Patil goes to Mongolian capital Ulan Bator July 27. This will be the first visit by an Indian president in 23 years since Mongolia became a democratic country. A number of economic agreements are expected to be signed after delegation-level talks between the two sides.
From India's point of view, pushing nuclear negotiations with the uranium-rich Mongolia will be the top priority.
"There have been active consultations between the atomic establishments of the two sides," Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary in charge of East Asia in India's external affairs ministry, told reporters.
In September 2009, India had signed an agreement for peaceful uses of radioactive minerals and nuclear energy with Mongolia during the visit of Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.
Since the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) granted a waiver to New Delhi in September 2008 reopening doors of global commerce, India has sealed over half a dozen civil nuclear accords with various countries, including the US, France, Russia, Kazakhstan, Britain, Canada and Namibia.
Move One Well Positioned to Assist Future Trade Between the US and Mongolia
As the Mongolian President's visit to Senate results in Mutual Cooperation Bill, Move One prepares for widening of trade.
July 22 (LogisticsWeek) As part of a historic visit to the US, President of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, has met with the American Senate in Washington DC. In response to the official visit, senators, including John Kerry and John McCain, introduced and passed a motion expressing support for the developing trade partnership between Mongolia and the US.
The succinct bill, which was less than 335 words in length, passed unanimously on July 15 as part of the one-hundred and twelfth congress. The core of the bill said that it "Expresses the sense of the Senate to… cement the growing friendship between the governments and peoples of the United States and Mongolia; the continued commitment of the Mongolian people and the government of Mongolia to advancing democratic reforms and protecting investment deserves acknowledgment; and the US government should continue to promote economic, academic and cultural cooperation with Mongolia and support international financial assistance for Mongolia."
The full text is available at the .
Move One Logistics is already at the forefront of this growing trading relationship, and is well positioned to serve the bilateral needs of both nations. The company is helping to shape the economic destiny of Mongolia by facilitating business with not only the US but companies from around the world.
Noah Glassco, Move One's Country Manager for Mongolia, commented on the future trade announcement, saying "It is reassuring to hear about the mutual efforts presented towards a successful cooperation in the bill and how the pace of investment in Mongolia's infrastructure is accelerating. As a leading logistics company in Central Asia, Move One is accustomed to operating in highly remote and extremely rugged conditions, and looks forward to helping international companies gain access to Mongolia's unique opportunities."
GTSO Enters Into Negotiations for Multi-Million-Dollar Financing for Resource Development
Credit Line Could Prove Critical to Expansion of Mining Operations
SAN JOSE, Calif., Jul 22, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Green Technology Solutions Inc. (otcqb:GTSO) announced today that the company has entered into negotiations with an international finance company for a multi-million-dollar line of credit to help fund the development of rare earth resources in Mongolia.
GTSO President and CEO John Shearer said Thursday that the financing would provide the fuel needed for the company and its joint venture partner, Rare Earth Exporters of Mongolia, to move beyond the exploration phase and begin rare earth development in the Asian nation.
"The line of financing that we're negotiating now would allow us to capitalize on all of the groundwork we've laid in Mongolia," Shearer said. "Once the credit is secured and the core sample analysis is complete, we'll be able to move on with the development process. It's a critical step forward for the company."
GTSO has agreements in place for the evaluation and development of mineral assets on more than 17,000 acres in Mongolia that the company believes hold the potential for commercial production of rare earth metals. Global demand for the critical materials has skyrocketed due to the rise of green technology applications including electric car batteries, photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbine generators even as the world's dominant producer, China, has increased restrictions on rare earth exports. Fears over supply shortages have sent prices soaring, creating the favorable market dynamics on which GTSO is working to capitalize.
July 22 (news.mn) The State Specialized Inspecting Agency (SSIA) found 94 lapses when it checked the construction of 21 buildings in Ulaanbaatar. The lapses cover drawing, use of material and workmanship.
The construction organizations found wanting include Nomin Holding LLC, Eco Construction LLC, Fulian LLC, Orchlon Construction LLC, B and H LLC, Khishig Khangai LLC, Undur Buyant LLC and Urnu Urnukh LLC. The buildings include offices, service buildings and apartments.
The SSIA has ordered suspension of activity by the companies.
July 22 (news.mn) Unconfirmed reports say the Anti-Corruption Authority is investigating MP Kh. Narankhuu on a charge of embezzling of billions of MNT from the Erdenet factory. It is also looking into charges that the President of the Mongol Bank, L.Purevdorj, misused Zoos Bank funds for his personal benefit.
If any truth is found in the allegations the ACA will have to refer the cases to Parliament. It is believed that more MPs can be investigated as the Parliament election draws near.
July 22 (news.mn) Yesterday's scheduled meeting of the Representative Managing Council of the Development Bank could not be held as South Korea has not yet named the Executive Director of the Bank. The last date for this was July 20.
The meeting was meant to discuss the sale of Government bonds worth MNT800 billion, some issues of internal administration, and ratification of the appointment of the Executive Director.
July 21 (Commentary Magazine, by Michael Rubin) As I mentioned yesterday, my wife and I spent our summer vacation this year in Mongolia, a trip I'd recommend to anyone. The Mongols are friendly, the air is clean, and there is much to see for anyone interested in history, religion, or nature. (The only thing Mongolia lacks is a good beach.) If ever there was a country that lost the lottery on neighbors, it was Mongolia, sandwiched between a sometimes hostile, bullying Russia and an even more bullying China. I am reminded of that apt headline in in the wake of Russia's invasion of Georgia: "U.S. Advises Allies not to Border Russia."
July 21 (The American Conservative) --
What realists fail to realize when they make dispassionate cost and benefit calculations, is that there is an intrinsic benefit to friendship and alliance, but that such a benefit cannot be realized if the United States fails to embrace friendship for friendship's sake. What may appear inconvenient now may become a critical asset down the road, if only the American foreign policy elite would be farsighted. ~Michael Rubin
The friendship and alliance to which Rubin refers in this case is the one with…Mongolia. Rubin writes:
The Mongolian government is actively reaching out for friends who might respect its independence as both its neighbors play hardball. It has courted both Australia and South Korea. Alas, while Mongolians are friendly and pro-American, they recognize they cannot rely on the United States as a friend.
What is it that they are relying on these "friends" to do? Rubin says that it is "strategic blindness" to neglect Mongolia, but at no point does he explain how greater American friendliness would change the reality that Mongolia is a poor country dependent on its larger neighbors for energy. Neither does he explain why the U.S. should increase ties with a landlocked state wedged in between two of the world's major powers, or how Mongolia would ever be a "critical asset" for the United States. If the advantages of a closer relationship are unclear, the downside is obvious. It would revive Russian fears of U.S. encroachment into Russia's "near abroad" and alarm China at the same time. In addition to creating a new irritant in the relationship with both governments, it could stoke tensions between Mongolia and its neighbors. That would hardly serve the interests of Mongolia, and it isn't clear that it would help the U.S. in any concrete way.
Rubin is also mistaken if he thinks that the U.S. has stopped paying attention to Mongolia. J. Berkshire Miller the state of U.S.-Mongolian relations earlier this year:
Either way, Mongolia has been developing increasingly close security ties with the United States. Through the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, Mongolia contributed about 150 soldiers from the elite Mongolian Expeditionary Task Force (METF)—a sizeable number considering the country's population—to help train the Afghan National Army in mobile field artillery techniques.
While nearly two-thirds of the METF in Afghanistan have now returned home, such moves have bolstered the broader relationship with both NATO and the United States. This deployment has also built on the US goodwill Mongolia secured through its troop contributions to the Iraq War, which prompted visits by then US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and then President George W. Bush—the first sitting US president to visit the nation.
And the Obama administration has indicated that it intends to build on this progress. Last August, the Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) and the US Pacific Command conducted its annual joint-training exercise, 'Khaan Quest,' which was first undertaken in 2004 and is aimed at further enhancing the MAF's expertise in peacekeeping and counterterrorism. Khaan Quest continues to attract observer and participating nations from across the globe, with South Korea, Thailand, Canada, India, Japan, and Fiji all in attendance recently.
This has not gone unnoticed by China, and intensifying military cooperation with Mongolia in the future could come to be seen as unacceptable. This by Wang Peiran explains:
If the American military presence in Mongolia becomes too influential, from China's point of view, it essentially means being encircled by the United States. Although Beijing has not directly publicized its stance on military cooperation between Mongolia and the United States, Russia and other countries, there still exists a relatively clear "red line", namely that the current composition of Northeast Asian security cannot be dismantled, and even more, the situation cannot take a turn in a direction that is detrimental to China.
Mongolia seems to be sensitive to Beijing's concerns, and as a result, after the US president visited Mongolia, the Mongolian president immediately paid a visit to China. During the trip, a joint communiqué was released stating that both sides agreed not to enter into any military or political alliances directed at the other. The two nations' cooperation and exchange on security and defense are also progressing step by step. Since 2004, China and Mongolia have conducted three consultations on security and defense. These exchanges have been helpful in increasing understanding between the two sides, raising the level of trust and at the same time strengthening China's influence in Mongolia.
If Mongolia isn't going to enter into any alliances aimed at China, which is what any alliance with the U.S. would be whether we admit it publicly or not, that would seem to render the issue moot. It is not the business of the U.S. to be more pro-Mongolian than the Mongolian government.
July 21 (The American Conservative) Jonathan Tobin with on the importance of Mongolia, but worries about the Mongolian enthusiasm for Genghis Khan:
While we can sympathize with Mongolia's troubles in the last century, any country that accords Genghis Khan–one of history's great mass-murdering conquerors–the status of founding father, undermines its stance as a lonely democracy fighting for independence against authoritarian bullies.
Seriously? Yes, Genghis Khan was a brutal conqueror and empire-builder, and contemporary Mongolian attitudes towards him rely on greatly minimizing all of the destruction that went into building the beginning of the Mongol world empire, but it is really quite silly to hold this against them. Nations that have regained real political independence only in very recent times are understandably going to look back to moments in the past when their nation was independent, influential and powerful, and they are going to celebrate the famous leaders in their national history. Genghis Khan was undeniably the founder of the most organized political structure in Mongolian history up to that point, and it was because of his wars and the wars of his successors that the Mongols briefly dominated much of Eurasia. Good luck cultivating friendship with Mongolia by disparaging their most famous leader. By the same token, the enduring popular admiration for Stalin in the "fledgling democracy" of Georgia ought to discredit its stance as well.
One important difference between Georgia and Mongolia is that Mongolia has done a reasonably good job of building a functioning democratic state, and Georgia has stagnated as a semi-authoritarian or "hybrid" state. Freedom House rates Mongolia as free with civil liberties and political rights scores that are better than Georgia's. According to Freedom House, Georgia is "not an electoral democracy" by their standards, and rates as only partly free. The Economist Intelligent Unit's Democracy Index ranks Mongolia 64th in the world and considers it a "flawed democracy." By comparison, the EIU report counts Georgia as a "hybrid" regime and ranks it 103rd between Bhutan and Pakistan. Mongolia matched or outperformed Georgia in every category that the EIU uses. That doesn't mean that the U.S. should repeat its Georgian mistake in Mongolia, but it should tell us that the admiration Mongols have for Genghis Khan has no relevance for how Mongolia governs itself today.
July 23 (The Examiner) If your idea of adventure is flying first class, followed by five nights in a spa resort, you're in the wrong story – move on. However, if driving 10,000 miles, through Mongolia's toughest terrains, with no support team and no sag wagon sounds like fun…read on.
<Mogi & Friends Fund A/C>
Mogi & Friends Fund is a tiny fund of A$23K I created in late September with a few friends to put my own (and a few friends') money where my mouth (just mine) is.
"Mogi" Munkhdul Badral
CPS International LLC
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