Please click Display Images or Download Pictures to properly view this newswire
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Rio Tinto a step closer to restart of expansion of Mongolian mine Oyu Tolgoi
By Matt Chambers
May 14 (The Australian) Rio Tinto looks close to a deal with Mongolia to push ahead with the stalled $US5.4 billion ($7bn) underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine, with the Rio subsidiary that controls the project saying it is now a matter of ensuring "Ts are crossed and Is are dotted".
The head of Turquoise Hill, which is 51 per cent owned by Rio and which owns 66 per cent of the mine, told investors that he was optimistic a deal could be reached after declarations in recent months from the Mongolian Prime Minister that only minor matters needed sorting out.
"While a final agreement has not been reached, I believe good progress has been made, and I am optimistic we can resolve outstanding matters," Turquoise Hill chief Jeff Tygesen told investors on Tuesday night after the company released its March quarter results. "What we're trying to conclude and finalise are some of the more technical questions related to stabilisation of the original investment agreement with relation to tax."
Rio halted work on Oyu Tolgoi underground expansion, where 80 per cent of the project's value lies, in July 2013 because of disagreements with the government over the host nation's share of profits, capital costs on the first stage and tax payments.
It has continued to mine from the first stage of the project, which is an open-pit mine and associated plant that cost $US6bn to build.
Last month, Mongolian Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed declared agreement had been reached on crucial issues. But until this week, neither Rio nor Turquoise Hill had commented on how talks were going.
When asked if a deal could be reached in the next three months, Mr Tygesen said:
"I've been hopeful for a while ... it could be earlier or it could be later than that date."
Turquoise Hill shares have surged 37 per cent since late March on speculation a deal is close, giving the company a market value of $C10.3bn ($10.7bn).
Credit Suisse analyst Ralph Profiti noted that Mr Saikhanbileg recently said he wanted to wrap up talks this week, when a Rio delegation visited the country. "In our view, Mongolia has a window of opportunity over the next three to six months to conclude discussions before the focus shifts to parliamentary elections in June 2016," Mr Profiti said.
"We believe a positive outcome of discussions with little or no change to the investment agreement would positively rerate Turquoise Hill shares towards ... a valuation of $C6.15 (from $C5.13 yesterday).
Mr Tygesen said banks that had previously agreed to fund the project through what would be one of the world's biggest ever project financing deals remained supportive of the project.
Last week, Rio copper chief Jean-Sebastian Jacques told The Australian that the Prime Minister's April comments were positive but by no means an end to the matter. "The big question mark is the ability of the PM to build a strong consensus from a political standpoint, to take this project forward," Mr Jacques said.
Entree Gold Announces First Quarter 2015 Results – ETG, May 12
Scotiabank Raises Turquoise Hill Price Target to C$5.00, Maintains Sector Outperform Rating
March 13 (Analyst Ratings Network) Equities research analysts at Scotiabank upped their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) from C$4.00 to C$5.00 in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. The firm currently has a "sector perform" rating on the stock. Scotiabank's price target points to a potential downside of 2.53% from the stock's previous close.
Shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) traded up 1.36% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $5.20. The stock had a trading volume of 792,621 shares. Turquoise Hill Resources has a 52 week low of $3.17 and a 52 week high of $5.36. The stock's 50-day moving average is $4. and its 200-day moving average is $3.. The company has a market cap of $10.46 billion and a P/E ratio of 325.00.
Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at TD Securities downgraded shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from a "speculative buy" rating to a "hold" rating and raised their price target for the stock from C$4.50 to C$5.00 in a research note on Thursday, April 16th. Separately, analysts at CIBC lowered their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from C$4.50 to C$4.00 and set a "sector perform" rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, March 25th.
Turquoise Hill Rating Increased to Hold at Zacks
May 13 (Analyst Ratings Network) Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE:TRQ) was upgraded by Zacks from a "sell" rating to a "hold" rating in a report issued on Wednesday.
KRI closed -2% Wednesday to C$0.49
Khan Announces Private Placement of Shares
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 13, 2015) - Khan Resources Inc. ("Khan" or the "Company") (CSE:KRI) announces that it intends to raise approximately $2,000,000 in a non-brokered private placement by issuing approximately 5,000,000 common shares of the Company at a price of $0.40 per common share.
The offering is expected to close in May, 2015 and any securities to be issued in connection with the offering will be subject to a hold period of 4 months and 1 day under applicable securities legislation.
Khan intends to use the proceeds of the offering to: (i) advance proceedings to enforce the collection of a US$104 million arbitration award rendered in March 2015 in favour of Khan and against the Government of Mongolia; and (ii) for general corporate purposes.
1733 closed -2.8% Wednesday to HK$0.242
Winsway: EXTENSION OF LONGSTOP DATE RELATING TO DISPOSAL OF 42.74% INTEREST IN GRANDE CACHE COAL
May 13 -- Reference is made to the announcements of Winsway Enterprises Holdings Limited (HKEx:1733, the "Company") dated 19 November 2014, 2 December 2014, 8 December 2014, 1 January 2015, 13 March 2015, 9 April 2015 and 15 April 2015 respectively in relation to, among other things, the major transaction in connection with the disposal of 42.74% interest in Grande Cache Coal Corporation and Grande Cache Coal LP (the "Announcements"). Capitalised terms used in this announcement shall bear the same meanings as those defined in the Announcements unless the context requires otherwise.
EXTENSION OF THE LONGSTOP DATE
Pursuant to the Sale and Purchase Agreement, certain Conditions of the Disposal should be satisfied on or before the Longstop Date, or on or before such later date as the Parties may agree pursuant to the Sale and Purchase Agreement.
The Parties have agreed to extend the Longstop Date to 30 June 2015, to allow more time for all relevant Conditions to be fulfilled or waived (as the case may be).
Shareholders and potential investors should note that Completion is subject to the fulfillment or waiver of the Conditions set out in the Sale and Purchase Agreement on or before the Longstop Date, as extended to 30 June 2015. The Disposal may or may not be completed. Shareholders and potential investors should exercise caution when dealing in the shares.
MSE News for May 13: Top 20 +0.63% to 12,886.46, Stocks ₮12.9 Million, T-Bills ₮11 Million
Ulaanbaatar, May 13 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Wednesday, a total of 12 thousand and 767 units of 16 JSCs were traded costing MNT 23 million 892 thousand and 354.00.
"Hermes center" /8,857 units/, "Gobi" /690 units/, "Remikon" /685 units/, "Mongolia Telecommunication" /570 units/ and "APU" /570 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Gobi" (MNT five million 214 thousand and 120), "Gazar suljmel" (MNT two million and 392 thousand), "APU" (MNT two million 035 thousand and 790), "Hermes center" (MNT one million 151 thousand and 629), "Shivee ovoo" (MNT 600 thousand and 340).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 273 billion 878 million 467 thousand and 216. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 12,886.46, increasing 0.63% and the all index of MSE was 943.89.
BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, May 13 Close
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
Mongolia 1Q GDP Growth Slows to 4.4% Y/y: Statistical Office
By Michael Kohn
March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's gross domestic product grew 4.4% y/y in the first quarter, after expanding 7.4% in the same period last year, National Statistical Office says in statement distributed Wednesday.
* Mongolia's economy grew 7.8% last year, according to data reported earlier by the agency, and had 11.6% annual growth in 2013
* GDP data is preliminary and was compiled by production approach at 2010 constant prices
* Loans outstanding were 12.3t tugrik at the end of April, a 4.8% increase y/y
* Principles in arrears were 587.8b tugrik at the end of April, a 5% increase m/m and 97% rise y/y
* Non-performing loans reached 747b tugrik at the end of April, a 6.3% increase m/m and 21% increase y/y
* Total external trade turnover decreased 16% y/y in April; exports increased 1.4% and imports fell 32%
* External trade balance was $418m surplus in the 1st 4mos of 2015 vs $94m deficit in same period of 2014
* Industrial production index was up 11.4% y/y
* Consumer price index increased 9.2% y/y in April
* Tax revenue in first 4mos of 2015 rose 2.7% y/y
Mongolia Jan.-Apr Copper Concentrate Exports Rise 31% Y/Y
By Michael Kohn
May 13 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's copper concentrate exports increased to 414,700 tons in the 1st 4mos of 2015 from 316,500 tons a year earlier, the National Statistical Office says on its website.
* Value of these exports rose to $667.4m from $530.2m
* Coal exports fell 21% y/y to 4.25m tons from 5.36m tons yr earlier; value fell to $194.4m from $272.9m
* Gold exports rose 36% y/y to 3.4 tons from 2.5t; value rose to $133.3m from $89.8m yr earlier
* Crude oil exports rose to 2.5m barrels from 2.1m barrels yr earlier; value falls to $123.4m from $207.3m
* Total exports reached $1.45b in the first four months compared to $1.43b yr earlier
* China purchased $1.2b worth of Mongolia exports in the first four months vs. $1.3b yr earlier; China took 83% of Mongolia's exports
Inflation Falls 0.1 Pts to 9.2% in April
March 13 (Bank of Mongolia)
Unemployment Up 2 Pts to 9.4% in Q1 from 2014
Employment status of the population aged
15 years and over, by sex and quarter
Economically active population
Economically inactive population
Labour force participation rate,%
Unemployment rate, %
Download page (click review on left pane)
Average household monthly income up 6.4% from 2014 to ₮941.5 thousand, below inflation
May 13 (gogo.mn) As results of the Household Socio-Economic Survey in the first quarter of 2015, household average monetary income per month reached MNT 941.5 thousand it has increased by MNT 56.5 thousand or 6.4 percent compared to the same period of the previous year.
Other household incomes decreased by MNT 22.2 thousand, non-agricultural industrial and services incomes decreased by MNT 16.7 thousand, while
Agricultural income increased by MNT 46.3 thousand or 66 percent,
Pensions and reimbursements income increase by MNT 12.4 thousand or 8.9 percent,
Salary income increased by MNT 36.7 thousand or 8.1 percent.
First quarterly household average real monetary income became MNT 861.4 thousand a decrease by MNT 23.6 thousand compared to the same period of the previous year. Real monetary income is the calculation based on eliminating the price impact.
Monthly household average expenditures became MNT 963.3 thousand an increase by MNT 81.8 thousand, which was based on increase in the following items
Food consumption increased by MNT 23.7 thousand or 10.4 percent
Non-food items and services increased by MNT 72.9 thousandor 10.1 percent
First quarterly household average real monetary expenditure became MNT 881.3 thousand a decrease by 0.02 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. Real monetary expendityre is the calculation based on eliminating the price impact.
Percentage in the household total
Up to MNT 300,001
Over MNT 2,100,001
₮40 Billion 12-Week T-Bills Sold at Discount, Average Yield 14.9%
May 13 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 40.0 billion MNT. Face value of 40.0 billion /out of 46.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 14.900%
BoM issues ₮8 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -15.9% to ₮159.1 billion
May 13 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 8 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
UB Housing Index Falls -0.69% in April, -6.9% from 2014
May 13 (Bank of Mongolia) --
Price of old apartments down, new up, overall down in April
May 13 (Mongolian Economy) Monetary circulation and the velocity of cash and other liquid assets among public has weakened, and real estate purchases are likely to decline as banks are also decreasing lending. The real estate company "Tenkhleg Zuuch" has revealed its research into prices in April of this year. According to the research, the housing price index is at 16.5 percent, which is a 0.7 percent decrease from the previous month's figure. This a 2 percent decrease compared to the beginning of the year and a year-over-year 6.9 percent. The calculations were based on 4,414 new and old apartments supplied in the Ulaanbaatar real estate market.
Moreover, the housing price index for new apartments was at 27.2 percent according to the research. This is a 0.9 percent increase from the previous month and 0.3 percent increase from the beginning of the year and a 1.2 percent increase from the same period last year. However, the housing price index for old apartments is at 10.7 percent, which is a 1.9 percent decrease from last month, a 4.7 percent decrease from the beginning of the year and an 11.6 percent decrease from the same period last year. New housing prices rose from last year as new high-cost apartments were supplied in April of this year, and as a substitutive result, housing prices of older apartments have declined. The executive director of Tenkhleg Zuuch LLC, B.Batzorig, in sharing his thoughts on the future of housing prices said, "New housing prices are expected to continue increasing. This year, 35 percent of the 47 thousand newly constructed apartments are already in operation, and an additional 37 percent are expected to be in operation within this year." He also said that prices of new apartments will not decrease and that prices of older apartments are expected to continue declining over the next two months.
As of last month, the price per square metre of new residential housing was at MNT 2,174 million.
Housing prices are highest in Sukhbaatar district and lowest in Songinokhairkhan district. Currently, an old one bedroom apartment costs around MNT 96 million, which is a 5.4 percent decrease from the same period last year.
Prices of old apartments steadily decreasing – news.mn, May 13
Spring livestock offspring target reaches 77%
May 13 (gogo.mn) Offspring delivery rate increased by 1.4 million compared to previous week and reached 98. percent.
As of today the 77.3 percent of the expected offspring were delivered by 16.6 million dams:
Parliament Session Agenda for May 13
May 13 (gogo.mn) Standing Committee meetings are scheduled for today.
1. Environment, Food and Agriculture Standing Committee meeting at 09AM at B Hall.
· Approval of action plan for economy and social development 2016
· Approval of state forest policy
2. Sub Committee for Air Pollution Reduction meeting will be held at B Hall after Environment, Food and Agriculture Standing Committee meeting.
· 2014 Annual Report of National Commission for Air Pollution Reduction and Fresh Air Fund and 2015 Action Plan for ational Commission for Air Pollution Reduction and Fresh Air Fund
3. National Security and Foreign Policy Standing Committee meeting at 02PM at A Hall.
· Approval of action plan for economy and social development 2016
· Report by the Minister of Defense Ts.Tsolmon /Closed/
Mongolia bans use of gas guzzling government vehicles in UB
May 13 (infomongolia.com) At the regular Cabinet meeting held on May 11, 2015, a new regulation on banning to use high fuel consuming vehicles in the city was issued for those administrative organs funded by the state budget.
As of today, a total of 5,259 vehicles are registered on 823 state-run entities, 921 of which are big capacity SUVs and 162 mid-sized SUVs. In 2014, for only car use it was spent 59 billion MNT that needs to implement the relevant decisions on the use of economy cars.
Under the decision, all vehicles to utilize are classified in three groups as Official-Use, Work-Use and Call-Use, and the "List of Authorized Officials to Use Vehicles for Work and Depending on Official's Post" is approved.
Set forth in the Appendix 1.1, an official, if appointed to work in countryside, is permitted to utilize an SUV with engine cylinder capacity of 3501-4700 cm3. Also, all those SUVs being used by organs such as Supreme Court, the General Prosecutor's Office, Ministries and Government Agencies will be storaged in one place, Government Auto Depot and Head of the Cabinet Secretariat S.Bayartsogt is obliged to take necessary measures.
Also, a km-limit per day for authorized personnel to utilize sedan vehicles in the city was approved, for instance, an official using a car will not exceed 70 km per day, for call-use not to exceed 50 km and the automobile engine cylinder capacity is set to be less than 2500 cm3, besides if to exceed the limit, an official is to pay the over cost.
Consequently, all automobiles with engine cylinder capacity more than 2500 cm3 for service purposes and funded by the state budget are prohibited to utilize in the city.
Mongolia to spin off certain Civil Aviation Authority's functions into national corporation
Ulaanbaatar, May 13 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg convened authorities of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the national flag carrier Mongolian Airlines (MIAT) at the "Hour for solutions" weekly meeting on Wednesday, and gave them some obligations.
The government made a decision this April to establish the National Corporation of Civil Aviation, a state-run institution, in order to manage air navigation, airplane and airport services and other services which used to be involved in the CAA's functions. In accordance with this, a working group has been set up at the Ministry of Road and Transportation, and draft rules and structure of the Corporation have been worked out, said Ts.Erdenebileg, the CAA head.
He also reported that a work launched last month to reduce the separation distance between planes flying in Mongolian airspace to 30 km from 90 km, in accordance with a governmental order, this will increase a number of flights over Mongolian territory, he added.
A number of summer-time flights is likely to soar this year against the previous year, said G.Jargalsaikhan, a director of the MIAT company.
The PM said the civil aviation is a crucial sector for the national economy. Since it attracts investors and serves tourists, the government attaches an importance to this industry, he noted and gave the obligations to the leaders of the CAA and MIAT. The CAA head must actively and creatively work on accelerating the corporation's establishment, augmenting the revenue from navigation, and seeking new investment sources, he said. The MIAT director must launch the transit service because it is considered as a contributor to the increase in passenger flow, must draw up a new scheme for the financing of Boeing aircrafts, and study all opportunities of cooperating with foreign airline companies, he stressed.
Mongolian Trade Union calls for government to fulfill agreement to increase pay for state workers
May 13 (news.mn) The Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions (CMTU) has given a press conference calling for immediate increases to the salaries of state workers.
The President of the CMTU, Kh.Amgalanbaatar, noted, "The Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions and the Government of Mongolia reached an agreement to increase salaries on January 15, 2015. But this hasn't been implemented."
The issue was discussed at Monday's Cabinet meeting, but a decision on resolving the issue was not reached.
Over the last few years, the government has pointed to state budget shortfalls making it impossible to increases salaries, but the CMTU reports that when the agreement with the government was concluded, 90 billion MNT from the state budget was reserved for salary increases. The agreement also outlined that the salaries of service units of the state would be increased starting on May 1, 2015.
The government has said that the salary increase will be effective on July 1, 2015, but the CMTU is demanding more immediate action.
MP Baasankhuu calls for dismissal of PM Saikhanbileg
May 13 (gogo.mn) MP and Head of the Petition Standing Committee O.Baasankhuu made an announcement today. He made an announcement on conducting studies to dismiss the current PM Ch.Saikhanbileg.
According to MP O.Baasankhuu PM Ch.Saikhanbileg is not conducting his duties as expected to decrease the economic downturn. Also he mentioned that policy based only on two mining projects is not enough to save the economy of the country. Moreover, he added that several MPs are supporting him.
Speaker Meets UNICEF Representative
Ulaanbaatar, May 13 (MONTSAME) The Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) Z.Enkhbold Tuesday received Mr Roberto Benes, the UNICEF Permanent Representative to Mongolia.
The latter emphasized that Mongolia is one of the first countries to sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which became effective in 1990, and that the Mongolian government has been focusing on a well-being of children and youths. Bills on children's rights and protection have been parliament, "and I thank You, the Speaker, for paying big attention to these draft laws and for putting efforts", Mr Benes said.
Mongolia is striving to ensure the rights when children are given good conditions that allow them to study and live in healthy and safe environment, to participate in social life and to be protected. Standard and adequate provision of all essential social services, and an ensuring of the rights, reflected in the CRC, are the responsibilities of Mongolia, "making a donation for the next generations is a key to a development of Mongolia," he said.
Mongolia marks this year the 25th anniversary of joining the CRC, Mr Benes noted and said Mongolia gained achievements for children, which proves that Mongolia wants to ensure children's rights. He pointed out that the UNICEF will pay more attention to provision of drinking water and to providing children all over the world with equal and balanced rights despite a developmental gap in localities and urban areas.
In response, the Speaker expressed a satisfaction with meeting the UNICEF Representative and agreed that the works for the next generations of Mongolia are beneficial.
Mr Benes's experiences in children's rights and protection will definitely contribute to Mongolia's actions towards children, the Speaker said and thanked him for supporting Mongolia's development goals. He also noted that projects and programs implemented by the UNICEF have been significantly contributing to ensuring of children's rights, forming for them friendly conditions, upgrading essential social services, and to promoting the children's roles. He said our parliament has a tradition of focusing on matters of children's rights, and pointed that out some laws on children are currently valid in Mongolia. He added that parliament is going to discuss two bills on children's rights and protection and that it adopted several laws related to children's matters.
The Speaker went on that all generations have been working for providing children with equal rights despite where they live, Mr Enkhbold underlined and said Mongolia wants to collaborate with the UNICEF in ensuring their rights, especially for the local children. He asked the UNICEF Representative to study a chance to implement projects and programs on protecting children's rights within online environment and preventing bad habits of youngsters.
Present at the meeting was D.Battsogt, a head of the Standing committee on social policy, education, culture and science.
Mongolia Bank Sold $500 Million of Bonds After 10-Month Delay
May 12 (Bloomberg) Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia LLC, the nation's largest lender by assets, sold $500 million of five-year dollar bonds after postponing the offering in July due to adverse market conditions.
TDBM's $500m bond ends three-year drought
May 13 (FinanceAsia) Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia (TDBM) sold a $500 million five-year note on Tuesday evening, the country's first dollar offering in three years.
Rated B2/ B+ by Moody's and Standard & Poor's respectively, the Reg S/ 144A bond priced at the lower end of the final price guidance at 9.375%. It is also 37.5 basis points tighter than the initial guidance area of 9.75%, according to a term sheet seen by FinanceAsia.
Guaranteed by the government of Mongolia, the offering received an order book in excess of $2.3 billion from over 230 accounts, indicating strong appetite for the notes despite ongoing challenges within the Mongolian economy. This is especially true for US investors, who took up half the notes while the remainder was split between European and Asian accounts.
A source close to the deal said that secondary levels are performing extremely well, noting that Asian accounts missed out on the transaction and are keen to add on positions. On Wednesday morning, the bond had traded up to a cash price of 102.75 from par.
"The US accounts really led the process," said the source. "There was large support from sovereign funds out of the US and Europe, which enabled the deal [price] to tighten by a meaningful amount."
Asset managers purchased 90% of TDBM's paper, followed by banks with 5% and private banks and others with 5%.
Based on where the commodities cycle is, holding debt instruments from Mongolia-based borrowers may be a big risk given that the frontier market - endowed with immense mineral wealth - is highly reliant on the commodities sector.
Mongolia's growth suffered in 2014 from the slowdown in coal exports to China and in foreign direct investment due to uncertainty over the nation's regulatory framework and fall in coal prices. Thermal coal, for example, is languishing at six-year lows of about $63 a tonne - down from $150 a tonne in 2011.
Moreover, exploitation of the Oyu Tolgoi mine - home to one of the world's largest reserves of copper and gold - began in the middle of 2013 but London-based multinational mining corporation Rio Tinto and the government remain at odds over the project's second phase. Scheduled to become fully operational in 2020, output from Oyu Tolgoi could represent 30% of Mongolia's GDP credit analysts said.
As a result, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the growth of Mongolia's economy is likely to decline to 4% from 2014's 7.8%.
Nonetheless, the frontier market still offers opportunities. Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed, in a nationally televised address on April 5, outlined his plans to revive the economy, including the resolution of a dispute with Rio Tinto concerning the $6.6 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.
This spurred the yield on sovereign notes due January 2018 to drop 175bp to 5-47% on April 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That's the lowest yield since June 2013, after rising to an all-time high of 9.79% on January 21. The yield is now hovering around 5.98% on May 13.
The nearest comparables for TDBM's offering includes its own and the sovereign's outstanding bonds maturing in 2017 and 2019 respectively that were trading at a yield of 7.5% and 5.6% prior to announcement of the deal, according to a separate source on the deal.
Given that TDBM's existing bond is a two-year offering, fair value for the latest note would be around the 9% area after taking into account the extension of the duration curve plus credit curve, added the source.
Proceeds of TDBM's bond will be used to refinance its outstanding $300 million note maturing in September as well as for general corporate purposes.
The last Mongolian issuer to raise a dollar bond over the size of $500 million was the sovereign, which raised a $1.5 billion dual-tranche note in November 2012.
Based in Ulaanbaatar, TDBM is the largest bank in Mongolia by assets. At 31 December 2014, the institution's consolidated assets totaled MNT5-4 trillion ($2.9 billion).
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, ING and Deutsche Bank were the joint book runners of the transaction, which is part of the borrower's $500 million global medium-term note programme.
Mongolian bond hands buyers quick returns
SINGAPORE, May 13 (IFR) - Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia handed investors a one-day gain of as much as 3% after it paid a hefty premium to issue US dollar bonds on Tuesday.
TDBM defied volatile market conditions and an uncertain macro outlook to draw a huge order book for a US$500m government-guaranteed five-year bond, priced to yield 9.375%.
However, the bonds shot up to 103 in early secondary trading, a clear sign that the issuer had left value on the table.
The government guarantee helped TDBM avoid a repeat of last June's failed offering, when it was forced to scrap a five-year dollar issue despite offering a yield of 11.25%.
It also lifts the country's access to hard currency, as the proceeds will be swapped into dollars with the central bank.
But the extent of the premium led some to wonder why TDBM had not waited for the Mongolian Government to resolve uncertainty about its two major mining projects before launching the offering.
"The deal got done, but the timing was quite unfortunate. Had they waited for the OT-2 (Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper project) and TT (Tavan Tolgoi coal project) deals to get signed, buy-side confidence in the overall Mongolia story would have been much higher," said Florian Schmidt, head of debt capital markets at high-yield specialist SC Lowy.
"On the spread against the sovereign alone, they had to leave more than 100bp on the table."
Some investors clearly spotted a bargain. TDBM attracted a book of more than US$2.3bn from 231 investors, with US buyers taking half of the 144A/Reg S bonds, an unusually large proportion for an Asian high-yield issue.
The final pricing for a yield of 9.375% was well inside initial guidance in the 9.75% area, but it was 280bp above the interpolated sovereign curve. Some investors and analysts pointed to 104.5 as fair value, translating to a yield of 8.25%. The bond is expected to be rated in line with the Mongolian sovereign at B2/B+.
The Mongolian sovereign 4.125% "Chinggis" bonds due 2018 were trading at 6.22% and its 5.125% due 2022s at 6.93%, when TDBM opened books, pointing to an interpolated yield of around 6.6% for a new government-backed five-year bond.
State-owned Development Bank of Mongolia's government-guaranteed 2017 notes were trading well outside the sovereign at around 7.7%, pointing to 8.2% for a new five-year issue, based on 16bp for each year of extension. TDBM paid over 100bp more than that.
Given that TDBM has ample foreign-exchange reserves and undrawn facilities to pay for its US$330m bond maturing in September, there was no urgency to come to market while uncertainty over two huge mining projects depressed investor sentiment towards Mongolia.
On the other hand, however, it could not be certain when government approval for those projects would arrive, or whether rising US interest rates would push up the cost of issuance later this year.
Rio Tinto is awaiting approval to proceed with the second stage of the Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper project (Mogi: describing it as just approval is not painting the whole picture. Situation is more like if RIO approves), known as OT-2, of which 34% is under the control of the Mongolian Government. Meanwhile, the government has halted a US$4bn investment from Mongolian Mining Corporation, China's Shenhua Energy and Japan's Sumitomo Corporation in Mongolia's Tavan Tolgoi coal project as it seeks further legislative approvals.
Nationalist politicians have been trying to delay the approval process, with some sources away from the deal even suggesting that the success of TDBM's guaranteed bond will be used to show that the sovereign can access overseas capital markets without signing away stakes in its natural resources to foreign companies.
TDBM will swap the proceeds into Mongolian tugrik and use them for lending. The central bank will conduct the swap, giving the sovereign access to desperately needed dollars without technically breaching its debt ceiling, since TDBM will need to hold the same amount of MNT-denominated government securities for the guarantee to be valid.
If there had been room under the debt ceiling, there is no doubt that Mongolia could have issued a sovereign bond more cheaply. TDBM, though, actually saved on the cost of raising tugriks, since it might have expected to pay upwards of 12% to borrow two-year money in the local currency.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, ING and Deutsche Bank were joint bookrunners.
French Ambassador Introduces Gas Company Air Liquide to President's Office
Ulaanbaatar, May 13 (MONTSAME) Head of the Presidential Office P.Tsagaan Wednesday received Mr Yves Delaunay, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Mongolia, and Dieter Grabenbauer, a vice president of France's Air Liquide company.
The Air Liquide was introduced to Mr Tsagaan as the world leader in gases, technologies and services for industry and health. This company has launched project in Mongolia after four-year exploration on producing synthetic combustible gas from liquid and brown coal.
The sides exchanged views on this project and on documents that are expected to be inked during upcoming this June 11-12 visit of the Mongolian President to France.
Mr Delaunay said the Air Liquide wants to invest in Mongolian agriculture, high tech and other spheres. He also expressed his country's position over the above documents.
Oxford Business Group's latest report on Mongolia puts legislative upgrades under the microscope
By Paulius Kuncinas, Regional Editor, Oxford Business Group
May 13 (UB Post) A new report on Mongolia by Oxford Business Group (OBG) provided detailed analysis of the country's efforts to reinvigorate foreign investment through a raft of new legislation and a broader trading base.
The Report: Mongolia 2015 charts the ups and downs at Oyu Tolgoi, where recent progress looked to have broken the deadlock on the stalled mine expansion project. The publication also considers the challenges Mongolia faces, led by gaps in project finance and a weaker tugrug, which contributed to slower growth in 2014. Marking OBG's fourth report on the country, The Report: Mongolia 2015 contains in-depth interviews with President Ts.Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg, together with a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors.
It also features a wide range of contributions from leading representatives, including Minister for Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren, Chairman of Oyu Tolgoi. G.Batsukh, and Chairman of Petrovis J.Oyungerel. International personalities, including President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Chairman and CEO of GDF Suez Gerard Mestrallet, and the Associate Managing Director Asia, Corporate & Financial Institutions at Moody's Investors Service, Graeme Knowd, also give their views on Mongolia's economic development.
With Mongolia's transport networks and logistics industry seen as key for improving connectivity and supporting national efforts to get the country's products to market, OBG's 2015 report has widespread coverage of the new projects under consideration, which range from road and rail to logistics ventures.
OBG's new report also shines the spotlight on the country's financial sector, which is once again on the rise after a downturn in recent years. OBG's analysis includes a roundtable, in which leading industry players air their views on the topical issues making news across the banking sector. Mongolia's efforts to bolster energy security and reduce dependence on imports by investing in the country's hydrocarbons potential, the power network and refining is another topic analyzed in the Group's latest publication. The report also focuses on the country's important agriculture sector, which stands to benefit from new programs aimed at boosting output and exports.
Andrew Jeffreys, OBG's CEO, said that while 2014 was a difficult year for Mongolia in many ways, the group's new report had noted a national commitment to enhancing the country's business environment, supported by a pro-FDI legislative overhaul.
"Forecasts suggest GDP growth will fall to around 6.3 percent in 2014 from 11.7 percent the previous year. However, Mongolia's government has maintained its focus on reinvigorating foreign investment flows by targeting the country's legal framework," he said. "The new investment law, in particular, will sit well with investors, alongside amendments to the minerals law, given Mongolia's vast natural resources. More reforms are needed, but these changes are certainly important steps on the road to improving investor sentiment."
Paulius Kuncinas, OBG's Managing Editor for Asia, agreed that the new laws should stand Mongolia in good stead as it looks to attract much-needed foreign capital for its projects on the back of a lean year.
"Data showing a 70 percent drop in FDI during the first nine months of 2014 has heightened the need for Mongolia to highlight its investment potential," he said. "While our report pinpoints the important developments within the country's mining sector in this respect, it also explores the opportunities emerging outside of the traditional extractive industries in areas such as cashmere, meat processing, tourism and ICT, which have a key role to play in boosting FDI."
The Report: Mongolia 2015 marks the culmination of more than six months of field research by a team of analysts from OBG. The publication assesses trends and developments across the economy, including macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sector developments. It has been produced with Invest Mongolia, the Business Council of Mongolia and the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The publication is available in print or online.
Oxford Business Group (OBG) is a global publishing, research and consultancy firm, which publishes economic intelligence on the markets of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean Through its range of print and online products, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sector developments, including banking, capital markets, insurance, energy, transport, industry and telecoms.
Will Vietnamese consume Mongolian meat?
Sh.Radnaased: "MSIA has changed, don't be affraid of the controls and monitoring "
May 13 (gogo.mn) Mongolian Special Inspection Authority, Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Meat Union are cooperating on the increasing the meat exports. Therefore the entities planning on exporting their produce have met yesterday as the team from Vietnam specializing on Risk management to visit Mongolia during May 20-30th to make assessments on the meat processing factories.
Sh.Radnaased, Head of Mongolian Special Inspection Authority (MSIA): "Since February we are working on cooperation with Chinese side. As a result we have secured the export contract for the 6 domestic companies. We are working on ensuring that domestic manufactures adhere to the standards and requirements of the neighboring countries. There is huge opportunity for our domestic manufactures to export meat. According to the statistics world consumes 44 kg of meat annually per person. Many countries facing meat deficit are now contacting us. Recently, domestic companies went to Beijing to take part in Food Fair. "
At the end of May Vietnamese delegation from Quarantine and Control Authority will make visit to the 20 meat processing factories in five aimags in Mongolia. Although there is competition within the Mongolian market we have one window of exports. Moreover, there is real need to increase the exports during the economic downturn.
During the meeting yesterday management of meat processing manufacture delivered the following suggestions to the MSIA.
· Include the accredited manufactures in the assessment by the Vietnamese side as the acquisition of the accreditation is costly.
· Pay attention to development of the veterinary clinics which have lacked in many aspects during the assessments by Russian and Chinese side.
· Pay attention from the ministry to rural meat processing manufactures who are facing financial difficulties
· Stop the export of the cattle at Bichigt port in Sukhbaatar aimag and Buyant port in Khovd aimag
· Pay attention to the documentation process as manufacturers have to appoint employee in Ulaanbaatar for the documentation purposes whereas the meat is being processed in rural areas.
· Customs require documentation from the rural authorities, therefore to improve the MSIA services
· Restore the norms to provide the settled areas with only factory processed meat.
Domestic meat processing factories planning on exporting meat should conduct studies on the standards and requirements of the countries they are planning to export their produce. For instance, if the entitiy is planning on exporting to Russia it also needs to study the Customs Rules of the country as well. During the past few months MSIA has intensified their activities with neighbouring countires and bridged the opportunities for the meat producers and have also warned that domestic entities also lack in some ways.
-Meat processing factories do not require the documents of origin therefore there is need to promote the use ear-tags for the cattle.
· Improve skills of veterinarians
· Have proper shower conditions
· Locate the disposal at proper locations
· Pay attention to the preservation of the produce, enforce the separate storage for poultry, ensure the food safety standards
· Validate the internal audit, adjust the external audit documents with MSIA
· Veterinary specialist is to receive the raw materials
· Contract the labs for constant tests
· Validate and register the products
· Hire full time veterinary specialist
· Ensure the space for quarantine for sick cattle
· Ensure to have proper documentation for last two years, including the valid dates of licenses and certificates
· Proper handling standards to be adhered regarding the workers
· Have proper human resource management
· If the entity exports to Russia and China have the documents translated into Russian, Chinese and English languages
· Ensure that the cattle is purchased from the cattle disease free region
Above advice was given to the management of the meat processing factories by the MSIA. According to MSIA meat processors have failed the assessment of the neighboruing countries due to above mentioned downfalls.
Probably the lack of showers might sound as wild and prehistoric for the food processing factories, but due to the lack of proper infrastructure in the rural areas this poses the biggest downfall for them. Without proper shower conditions it is hard to imagine the adherence to the food safety standards.
Having proper human resources management was clarified by S.Nyamdorj, Inspector at MSIA. He explained that during the assessment visits only one person would introduce all the segments at the processing manufacture, therefore leading the assessing side to conclude that only one person is responsible for different processing stages and having violations at the processing.
According to the MSIA inspectors domestic meat processors make simple mistakes in handling of the everyday procedures therefore loosing their chances on exports of their products. Moreover, participants of the meeting also mentioned that only few of the meat processors have introduced the ISO22000 international standards.
Vietnamese side is interested in importing frozen meat instead of processed and conserved meat produce. But compared with Chinese they haven't introduced strict requirements. According to the previous assessments conducted by Chinese side some of the domestic meat processing factories have failed due to the lack of meat processing standards that Chinese adhere to. But since that time many factories are cooperating with MSIA to improve their processing standards. As a result two factories have secured the contracts to deliver horse meat and dumplings to Chinese market.
At the end of the meeting Sh.Radnaased, Head of MSIA have ensured the entities to cooperate with the authorities and not to be affraid of the monitoring and controls as the MSIA is working towards improvement.
Main purpose of the meeting was to warn the meat processors prior to visit of the Vietnamese delegation and prepare in accordance with the standards in order to utilize the export opportunities. Delegation is more interested in the factory equipment and technologies used in meat processing and if necessary they might request to see the slaughtering process. Funds for this visit is to be provided by the factories to be accredited and the state agencies.
Allthough Mongolian meat processing factories adhere to international standards regarding the equipment and technologies, they do however lack in meeting standards of proper documentation of the origin of their produce. It is important to have all the information regarding the origin of the produce.
Half of the meat produce processed in Mongolia is by-product. Factory manegement were interested on the policies regarding the by-products as well. Representatives of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture ensured that by-products are in demand in Southern regions of China like Guanzhou.
If one stock is valued at USD 100 for export then 10 million of stock will be valued at USD 1 billion, which is several times higher of the annual taxes paid by Oyutolgoi.
With Japan we have secured the contract to export warm processed meat. We do exports of meat to China, Vietnam and Kuwait. With Vietnamese side we have secured the contracts, but were facing difficulties in transportation, which now have been solved. The only step is to get accredited.
We hope to hear pleasant news on starting meat exports to Vietnam.
Mogi: boom? Guess I should be just happy it's positive
Commodities Boom Creates Opportunity in Mongolia
May 13 (Investasian) Mongolia, placed right between its two more economically important neighbors China and Russia, is the 19th largest company in the world by geographical size. Despite this, it is also the most sparsely populated with a population of only about 3 million.
This, along with the fact that Mongolia is rich in natural resources, with around US$1.3 trillion worth of proven minerals, metals, coal and other commodities, has drawn the attention of China which needs many of these as it depletes its own.
While once isolated from the global economy, Mongolia has benefitted in recent years from a massive amount of Chinese capital flowing in. China, which is now the world's largest economy in real terms, has in some ways overwhelmed the much smaller frontier market to its north.
The result has made Mongolia one of the fastest growing economies in the world over the past decade. Double-digit annual growth was common in the 2000s, but global economic issues and inefficiency in government has led to a slowdown. Mongolia had "only" 7.8% growth in 2014.
Mongolia is vast country and takes up an area larger than area larger than Japan, Germany and France combined, yet 45% of its population live in just the capital of Ulan Bator. The city is growing by around 40,000 people per year, but infrastructure development has not kept up – something that China is now helping with.
The commodities boom in Mongolia is supporting a rapidly growing middle class among Ulan Bator's population of 1.3 million. This, combined with the contribution of thousands of foreigners who work in mining activities, is straining the city's infrastructure. When designed by Soviet planners, Ulan Bator was planned as a town for less than 600,000 individuals.
These problems have not gone unnoticed by the Mongolian government, which has a number of projects planned to help some of Ulan Bator's overcrowding. Perhaps the most ambitious is the construction of an entirely new capital, Maidar City, which is designed for 300,000 people and will be located 30km from Ulan Bator.
Another plan involves billions of dollars worth of infrastructure enhancement in the gerdistricts, poorer communities in the hills of Ulan Bator. However, many doubt that Mongolia's government, which is democratic, will be able to pass the legislation.
Because of the massive scale of these projects, the lack of a certain timeframe, and doubts that they will provide a comprehensive solution, the private sector has a large window of opportunity to offer other solutions. Mongolia is an ideal place for innovative entrepreneurs, and those who can make life easier for Ulan Bator's surging middle class will benefit.
For investors, Mongolia has a stock exchange with 332 listed companies with a market capitalization of around US$3 billion dollars. As recently as 2011, it was the second best performing stock market in the world with gains of over 57%.
Schedule of roads to be closed in UB for repair this summer
May 13 (gogo.mn) Partial closure of the roads in Ulaanbaatar city is scheduled through May 8 to June 1, 2015 in accordance with the table below.
City administration advises the drivers to detour to avoid traffic on those roads under construction.
Bayanzurkh District, U turn at East side of Jukov Museum
Renovation of heating line
Eej Khairkhan Construction LLC
May 22nd 10PM to May 23rd 7AM
Sukhbaatar District, 1st Khoroo, Choidog St, Road behind the Central Library
Renovation of heating line
May 20th - June4th
Khan-Uul District, 15th khoroo, UB Town Road
Sewage line construction
Khan Uul Infrastructure Project
May 8th - June 1st
Sukhbaatar District, 1st khoroo, Bayangol Hotel, 3rd apartment road
Heating line construction
Bet Complect LLC
May 8th 11PM to May 0th 7AM
Bayanzurkh District, 6th khoroo, Dorj St
Water Line Service
East Distribution center of Communal Services
May 8th - May 18th
Sukhbaatar District, 20th khoroo, Tovchoo road, BOSA Center Road
Sewage line construction
May 8th - May 15th
Residents of evacuated apartment bldg. to move back in at end of May
May 13 (gogo.mn) 20 days have passed since the residents of 16th apartment of Bayangol District have been evacuated.
April 23th was the day when the residents of the building have been evacuated due to the possible threat of split in the building that could have been caused by the earth sliding in the contruction pit 6 m away from the residential building. NEMA took urgent measures to assess the condition and took the site under protection.
Studies and evaluations conducted on the site by the Capital City Special Inspection Authority have concluded that no splits or tilting of the building occured. The inspection outcomes urged to do the earth bracing and move the residents back.
The bracing of the earth is being done by Bum Od LLC which have started their works on site last week.
On the attempt to inquire on the process of the bracing the engineer of Bum Od LLC has refused to give any official answers citing that officials above prohibited them to inform anyone.
As of yesterday around 20 workers were conducting work at the site.
According to the Gurvan Undur Condominium Owners Association the construction works on bracing the earth is being conducted with the monitoring of the representatives of the residents and according to the officials residents will be moved back by May 25th. No more information was given as the residents of 16th apartment are objecting to give information as the situation is negatively impacting their lives, for instance driving the apartment prices in the building decline sharply.
D.Nansalmaa, Governor of the 14th khoroo at Bayangol district was absent on our attempt to meet due to the attendance of the training. At our attempt to approach the Media and PR officer Undrakhbayar no information was at avail as well.
According to A.Batmunkh, Head of the EMA of Bayangol District, bracing works are being conducted 24 hours non-stop as reinforcing works has been done and now the concrete filling is to be done, which is scheduled to be done by the end of this week. This will be followed by the assessments by the inspectors and if the conclusions are positive the residents will be allowed to move back. Moreover he assured that reinforcement will pose no harm further.
Overall, no official could come up with definite answer on the exact date for residents to move back. According to information we gained, they might be able to move in by the end of May. The construction pit is to be turned into recreation park according to the sources.
2015 Ulaanbaatar International Marathon to take place on June 6
May 13 (infomongolia.com) The Department of Physical Culture and Sports of Ulaanbaatar Administration will host the Sixth International Ulaanbaatar Marathon and invites all foreign and local runners, which is to take in Ulaanbaatar on June 06, 2015.
However this is the sixth edition, but the second large-scale international marathon and last year, over 17 thousand runners have participated.
The Marathon will be held in two categories as for professional and amateur runners in 6 distances including 42 km & 21 km for professionals, 10 km & 5 km for nonprofessionals, 1.5 km for people with disabilities and 1.5 km for family members.
Full marathon (42,195 m)
I place - 10,000,000 MNT
II place - 8,000,000 MNT
III place - 6,000,000 MNT
IV-Х places - 200,000-400,000 MNT
Semi marathon (21,975 m)
I place - 5,000,000 MNT
II place - 4,000,000 MNT
III place - 3,000,000 MNT
IV-Х places - 150.000-200.000 MNT
10,000 m race
I place - 500,000 MNT
II place - 400,000 MNT
III place - 300,000 MNT
IV-VIII places - 100,000-150,000 MNT
5,000 m race
I place - 300,000 MNT
II place - 250,000 MNT
III place - 200,000 MNT
IV-VIII places - 50,000-100,000 MNT
42 km 195 m (athletes aged over 18)
21 km 095 m (athletes aged over 18)
10 km (amateur runners aged over 18)
5 km (amateur runners aged 12-17)
5 km (amateur runners aged 18-35)
5 km (amateur runners aged 36-54)
5 km (amateur runners aged over 55)
1,500 m (people with disabilities)
1,500 m (family members)
In the 2014 International Ulaanbaatar Marathon, Merit Athlete of Mongolia Bat-Ochir SER-OD came first in the full marathon of 42 km and in the women's category IMS Luvsanlundeg OTGONBAYAR finished first respectively.
India, Mongolia to sign pact on cooperation in policing borders
May 13 (PTI) India and Mongolia will sign a pact for enhancing cooperation in border guarding, policing and surveillance during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Mongolia beginning May 17.
India-Mongolia to sign pact on transfer of sentenced prisoners
NEW DELHI, May 13 (PTI): India and Mongolia will sign an agreement on the transfer of sentenced prisoners during the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to that country beginning May 17.
"The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, today gave its approval for signing of an agreement between India and Mongolia on the transfer of sentenced persons," an official release said.
Signing and ratification of the agreement on transfer of sentenced persons between India and the Mongolia will enable sentenced persons to be near their families, and would help in the process of their social rehabilitation.
Once the agreement is signed and ratified, Mongolian convicted prisoners can be transferred to their home country and prisoners of Indian origin can be brought to India, to serve the remaining part of their sentence, the release said.
India, Mongolia to sign pact on cooperation in traditional medicines
NEW DELHI, May 13 (PTI): India and Mongolia will sign an agreement for cooperation in traditional medicines during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the country beginning May 17.
The two countries will sign an MoU for promotion of Indian Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy in Mongolia, which will help India source medicinal raw material from there. The approval for the MoU was granted by cabinet today.
"The cooperation will explore the potential of both the countries in the field of Traditional Medicines as Mongolia is one of the friendly countries and we have lot of common elements in common in terms of medicines and heritage," said a senior official of AYUSH ministry.
"The Traditional Systems of Medicine is practiced in the trans-Himalayan region and higher Himalayan parts of India and a similar system is reported to be widely practiced in Mongolia as well as in the form of Traditional Mongolian Medicine," the official said.
"Traditional medicine is a significant component of Mongolian healthcare and India is blessed with well-developed systems of traditional medicine including medicinal plants, which hold tremendous potential in the global health scenario," he said.
The government also granted approval for extension of an MoU signed between India and the China on Cooperation in Traditional Medicine. The MoU had expired in January 2013.
Buddhism to link PM Modi's visits to China, Mongolia, South Korea
New Delhi, May 13 (OneIndia.com): The shared legacy of Buddhism is a strong link that will run through the China, Mongolia and South Korea visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he embarks on his three-nation tour April 14-19, a journey that is set to see a number of agreements with each country and key talks with Beijing on the border issue, trade imbalance and economic cooperation.
Modi in China between May 14-16
Modi to meet Chinese Premier on May 15
Modi in Mongolia on May 17
On May 17, Modi will be in Mongolia, in the first visit by an Indian prime minister.
The visit will also have a strong Buddhism link. He will visit the Gandan Monastery in capital Ulan Bator where he will present a sapling of the revered Mahabodhi tree to the chief abbot of the monastery.
He will hold talks with Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg after which several agreements are set to be inked. Among the agreements are cooperation in the field of nuclear technology for curing cancer, to set up an Indo-Mongolian school in Ulan Bator, cooperation in traditional systems of medicine, like homeopathy, inking an air services agreement and cooperation in cyber security.
Both sides will likely renew a key agreement was signed in 1994, called the Treaty of Friendly Relations and Cooperation.
Mongolia is rich in mineral resources, and has large deposits of uranium. Both sides have inked a civil nuclear agreement which provides for uranium exports to India after the domestic laws in Mongolia permit prospecting and mining. Both sides would be taking it forward, said Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East) at a briefing on Tuesday.
He will also address the Mongolian parliament, which in a special gesture, will open on a holiday, it being Sunday.
Modi in South Korea on May 18-19
Modi will meet diaspora in all three countries
The lesser known history of relations between India and modern-day Mongolia
Modi will become the first Indian prime minister to visit Mongolia, 60 years after both countries formally established diplomatic relations
By Venkat Ananth
May 13 (Livemint) With Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarking on a week-long tour of the Far East on Thursday, all eyes will be on his high-profile visits to China (14-16 May) and South Korea (18-19 May). But sandwiched between the two is an interesting, one-day visit to Mongolia, a country with which India has shared warm relations since the 1950s. When he visits the capital Ulaanbaatar on Sunday, Modi will become the first Indian prime minister to visit the country, 60 years after both countries formally established diplomatic relations.
Down the years
The relationship between India and modern-day Mongolia was formalised by an Indo-Mongol communique, issued on 24 December 1955. In the process, India became the first country outside the Soviet bloc to establish relations with Mongolia (then called the Mongolian People's Republic). In his book Mongolia-India Relations (2003, Bhavana Books and Prints), Oidov Nyamdavaa writes, "Bayanbatyn Ochirbat became the first ambassador of Mongolia to India, who presented his credentials to Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, on 29 January 1956." He adds, "Simultaneously, R.K. Nehru (Ratan Kumar Nehru) was appointed the first ambassador of India to Mongolia, who presented his credentials to J. Saambu, chairman of the Presidium of the Great People's Khural, on 9 May 1956." R.K. Nehru was the cousin of then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and also served as India's ambassador to China.
Though he assumed charge in May 1956, it wasn't until 1970 that India established its embassy in Ulaanbaatar. It chose a monk-turned-diplomat from Ladakh, Sonam Norbu, as its first "residential" ambassador to Mongolia.
The first high-profile visit by a leader from either side was undertaken by India's former president S. Radhakrishnan (then vice-president) in 1957. This was reciprocated in 1959 by the visit of Yumjaagin Tsedenbal, the then prime minister of the Mongolian People's Republic. Since then, two Indian presidents, R. Venkataraman in 1988 and Pratibha Patil in 2011, have visited the country. During her stint as information and broadcasting (I&B) minister in the Lal Bahadur Shastri cabinet, former prime minister Indira Gandhi visited Mongolia in 1965. From the Mongolian side, high-profile visitors to India include presidents Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat in 1994, Natsagiin Bagabandi in 2001 and Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in 2009.
India has played an important role in getting Mongolia membership to key international forums, including the United Nations (UN), despite strong opposition from China and Taiwan. Mongolia was finally admitted to the UN in 1961. In a reciprocal gesture, Mongolia co-sponsored a 1972 UN resolution with India and Bhutan for the recognition of the newly liberated Bangladesh.
India's relationship with Mongolia has evolved considerably since 1973, when it signed an eight-point joint declaration, which became the basis for cooperation between the two countries. In 1994, during President Ochirbat's visit, the Treaty of Friendly Relations and Cooperation was signed, followed by joint declarations in 2001, 2004 and 2009.
In the recent past, relations between the two countries have been largely centred around increased bilateral cooperation in areas like defence and security, trade and civilian nuclear energy. Mongolia is considered to be one of the world's most mineral-rich countries with large coal, petroleum and uranium reserves. In 2009, Mongolia was among the first to sign a uranium deal with India. However, India is yet to receive any uranium supplies from Mongolia.
On the defence and security side, a key thrust area between the two countries, India has been instrumental in modernizing Mongolian weaponry. When President Patil visited the country in 2011, India and Mongolia signed a defence cooperation agreement, which included the conduct of joint defence exercises code-named Nomadic Elephant. India is also an active participant in an annual week-long joint training exercise called the Khaan Quest, hosted by Mongolia. Both countries also share technical partnerships, which include civilian training programmes, establishment of training centres in areas like energy and information and technology.
Over the past few years, there has been a marked growth in bilateral trade, with Indian exports contributing to the bulk of the numbers. In 2010, bilateral trade stood at $17.4 million and rose to $46.7 million the following year. In 2012, it increased to $60.2 million. However, trade fell to $35 million in 2013.
'Third neighbour' doctrine
Since the establishment of the modern Mongolian state, its foreign policy has been predominantly dictated by diplomatic relations between its two neighbours—the Soviet Union and China. During the Sino-Soviet split, from the 1960s to the late 1980s, Mongolia chose Moscow over Beijing and emerged as the Soviet Union's most reliable ally in Asia. In a paper titled The Soviets' Best Friend In Asia: The Mongolian Dimension of the Sino-Soviet Split (2003), Sergey Radchenko writes, "The Mongolians treated Beijing with a profound, deep-rooted mistrust, conditioned by China's colonial legacy in Mongolia and the long history of Sino-Mongolian confrontation." Relations between Mongolia and China warmed through the 1980s, and today, China is Mongolia's largest trading partner.
In 1990, when then US secretary of state James Baker visited Ulaanbaatar, he coined a term that caught the fancy of Mongolians. In a speech to the Great Khural, Baker used the term "third neighbour doctrine", which initially applied to the United States and the West at large. Mongolia, today, is keen to extend the third neighbour policy to India. In fact, Mongolia has often looked upon India as its "spiritual neighbour", given its deep-rooted cultural links with all forms of Buddhism, even the Tibetan school, which Mongolians have adopted.
Modi's Mongolia visit is important too
India should enhance its economic, cultural and defence ties with Mongolia. It is high time Modi should focus on gaining clout in smaller Asian countries such as Mongolia. It is in this context, India's engagement with Mongolia would give much-needed impetus to India's foreign policy, says Sana Hashmi.
Sana Hashmi is associate fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies
May 12 (Rediff) In an attempt to give a meaningful shape to India's East Asia policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin his three-nation tour to China, Mongolia and South Korea on May 14. His itinerary includes three-day official visit to China, a one day-stint at Mongolia and a concluding two-day visit to South Korea on May 18-19.
While Modi's China visit is attracting a great amount of interest, his visit to Mongolia is no less important. This is particularly due to the fact that Modi is poised to become the first-ever prime minister of India to visit Mongolia.
Clearly, Mongolia, a land-locked country in the east-Central Asia, has largely been neglected by the Indian leadership in the past few decades. Seemingly, that is the reason why Modi is going. In fact, till now, only two visits at the presidential level have taken place. In 1988, R Venkataraman became the first Indian leader to visit Mongolia, and after a gap of 23 years, in 2011, Pratibha Patil became the second Indian President to pay a state visit to Mongolia.
Provided that not many high-level visits have taken place between India and Mongolia and the attention will obviously be diverted towards Modi's forthcoming visit to China, the ounce of injecting a life in India-Mongolia relations now lies on Modi's shoulder.
2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of India-Mongolia diplomatic ties. While the details of Modi's Mongolia visit are still awaited, it is clear that prime minister would be getting very little time in Mongolia. Nevertheless, this indeed is a significant gesture on part of India to engage Mongolia.
Modi's Mongolia visit has the potential to exert India's almost non-existent influence in the landlocked country in ways more than one. First, on the economic front, the bilateral trade has increased manifold since 2000 and crossed the $66 million (about Rs 420 crore) mark in 2013 which, however, is still much below its potential. Much of India's economic presence in Mongolia is limited to providing soft loans and financial aid for the infrastructural development in Mongolia.
Secondly, it is imperative for the Indian leadership to understand that India's bilateral relations with Mongolia cannot be entirely driven by their economic cooperation. In fact, cultural bond is a connecting point between the two countries. More than 50 percent of Mongolians follow Buddhism which was introduced in Mongolia by the Indian King Ashoka in the third century BC.
Thirdly, cooperation in the field of education has been prominent in India-Mongolia relations. India's moves such as the establishment of Rajiv Gandhi College for Production and Art in 2002 and the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Centre for Excellence in Information and Communication Technology in 2003 were successful enough in projecting India's soft power image in Mongolia. Therefore, Modi's forthcoming visit may be used to promote educational opportunities for Mongolian youth by speeding up the process of modernising these two institutions.
Fourthly, though both countries are geographically apart from each other, Mongolia is turning out to be an important strategic partner for India in the recent times. During Pratibha Patil's visit, India's defence cooperation agreement with Mongolia which was signed in 2001 was renewed by another ten years. Under the framework of the defence agreement, India has, so far, trained military officers from Mongolia in Indian institutes and has further conducted a few joint exercises. India-Mongolia joint military training exercise codenamed 'Nomadic Elephant' is a case in point.
Now what India needs to focus is on stepping up its cooperation with Mongolia on a range of issues including defence and strategic cooperation.
Finally, it is important for India to rejuvenate its ties with Mongolia. India needs Mongolia to be on its side as it is one of the countries which supports India's candidature for the permanent member of United Nations Security Council.
Additionally, Mongolia is a resource-rich country with unexploited mineral reserves mainly large uranium deposits in northern Mongolia. With a number of mining projects in limbo and surge in protests in Mongolia over China's involvement in Mongolia's mining sector, Mongolia might look towards India for developing its mining sector. While Mongolia is trapped in a problem of trade deficit with almost all its trading partners, India should be prepared to invest in Mongolia's mining sector which would, in turn, satisfy India's energy needs in the long-term.
However, leaving a mark on Mongolia will prove to be a challenge for Modi and a few issues demand attention. The first and the foremost challenge for India would be China's economic supremacy in the landlocked country. China is the largest trading partner of Mongolia with a total bilateral trade of $6 billion, much higher than that of India-Mongolia trade figure.
Secondly, China is looking for a way to gain monopolistic access to Mongolia's untapped mineral reserves and China's close proximity to Mongolia gives China a leeway to establish trade routes between China and Mongolia, the advantage India does not have.
In such a situation, India should enhance its economic, cultural and defence ties with Mongolia. It is high time Modi should focus on gaining clout in smaller Asian countries such as Mongolia. It is in this context, India's engagement with Mongolia would give much-needed impetus to India's foreign policy and thereby, step up its efforts to integrate with the northeast and Central Asia at the regional level.
Bulgaria, Mongolia to improve cooperation in education, agriculture, science
May 13 (UB Post) President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev and the President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj, discussed the development of trade and economic relations between the countries on Monday, the press center of the President's Office announced.
The Bulgarian head of State has been on a three-day visit to Mongolia since Sunday. The state visit takes place within the context of the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The Head of the Bulgarian State defined Mongolia as an important partner and friend of Bulgaria in Asia. "We will develop bilateral relations in the field of mining, pharmaceutics, and cosmetics, energy, agriculture, and food production, information and communication technologies, defense, as well as building modern infrastructure. We seek all-round partnership and cooperation," President Plevneliev commented.
He listed as opportunities for cooperation the Bulgarian pharmaceutic companies looking for joint ventures and production in Mongolia. Plevneliev added that Mongolia is already trading in Bulgarian medicinal products, but there are greater prospects in this sphere. Food production also offers serious prospects and Bulgarian companies will be encouraged to produce in Mongolia and to enter big markets, such as the Chinese one, through joint ventures with Mongolian partners, he noted. Specific cooperation opportunities also exist in the defense industry where, for example, the production of night vision equipment by Bulgaria's OPTIX Co. could be sold in Mongolia.
A number of documents were inked at an official ceremony attended by both presidents, including an agreement on the implementation of a program for technical aid in the agriculture sector; an agreement between the education ministries of Bulgaria and Mongolia on the implementation of a scholarship program in the field of agricultural sciences to train Mongolian students at Bulgarian state higher education establishments; an agreement between the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences on scientific cooperation; and a memorandum of understanding between the Bulgarian and Mongolian foreign ministries.
Ts.Elbegdorj thanked the Bulgarian side for its support for cooperation between Mongolia and the European Union. In his words, Mongolia is convinced that its best friend and ally in Europe is Bulgaria. Plevneliev made a reference to the ratification by the Bulgarian National Assembly of the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the EU and Mongolia, and said that this agreement will give Mongolia the opportunity to widen its cooperation with the European Union and will strengthen Bulgarian-Mongolian relations.
Mentioning that some 5,000 Mongolians have graduated from Bulgarian universities and institutes, and more than 3,000 have been involved in mid-career training in Bulgaria, the two presidents also noted Bulgaria's contribution in the training of Mongolian students and specialists. Ts.Elbegdorj said that Mongolia will send students in Bulgaria for training in IT and environmental sciences.
Plevneliev recalled that Bulgaria reinstated its embassy in Ulaanbaatar and noted that work is underway for opening a consulate as well. He said that Bulgaria has an ambitious program for expansion of cooperation, which also means more effective visa-issuing.
On the same day, Plevneliev opened a monument to the Cyrillic letters at a school in Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia is the only non-Slav country using Cyrillic writing. The monument was unveiled on the Day of Saints Cyril and Methodius, who invented the earliest version of the Slavonic alphabet in 9th century AD.
According to Bulgarian News Agency BTA, the presidents announced during the joint press conference that followed their bilateral talks that Mongolia will study Bulgaria's experience with the construction of the Sofia underground railway system. The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar is preparing to visit the Bulgarian capital and acquaint himself with the project. "Bulgaria is known in Eastern Europe for its fast and nice metro and we would like to use the experience with the Sofia metro's construction in a short time with small expenditures," President Ts.Elbegdorj said.
Mongolia and the Republic of Bulgaria established diplomatic relations on April 22, 1950. In 1961, the two countries opened their respective embassies in Ulaanbaatar and Sofia. Mongolia and Bulgaria had intensive relations from 1960 to 1990. However, bilateral relations have been diminished in recent years. But both sides have started to take the initiative to restoring bilateral relations since 1994.
Russia To Hold Military Exercises With Belarus, China, India, Mongolia This Year
May 13 (Radio Free Europe) Russian says the country's land forces will join troops from Belarus, China, India, and Mongolia in a series of joint military training exercises during the second half of this year.
The Kremlin made the announcement on May 13 as President Vladimir Putin met with top Russian military officials in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
The statement said the drills will focus on peacekeeping and antiterrorist activities.
Moscow has been especially keen to build closer ties with China and India as its relations with the West plummeted to post-Cold War lows following Russia's annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in Ukraine.
The Chinese and Indian president joined Putin in Moscow on May 9 for a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
Western leaders boycotted the event.
Two Mongolian Alumni Projects Win 2015 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Grants from State Dept.
May 12 (U.S. Embassy) This year the U.S. Department of State hosted its fifth annual Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) project competition, and two projects proposed by Mongolian teams are being granted funding. The projects, "Equal Access: Crowdsourcing a Wheelchair Map" and "Empowering Women and Girls through Entrepreneurship," were planned by alumni of U.S. government exchange programs.
Forty-eight innovative AEIF projects of global significance were selected from 800 proposals received from countries across the globe. The project teams – who collectively represent in 43 different countries - will tackle critical issues such as access to education, women's empowerment, climate change, and more.
The two Mongolian projects were conceived of and will be implemented by Mongolians who are passionate advocates of equal opportunity and human rights.
The goal of the "Equal Access: Crowdsourcing a Wheelchair Map" is to generate a user-friendly mapping tool that provides wheelchair accessibility information and supports the development and strengthening human rights in Mongolia. The project team wants this initiative to function as an advocacy tool for infrastructure to accommodate Mongolians with disabilities and to increase awareness, which will ultimately improve the quality of life for Mongolians with disabilities.
Winning in the AEIF Empowering Women and Girls category, "Empowering Women & Girls Through Entrepreneurship" will teach women and girls living in marginalized areas and ger districts of Ulaanbaatar about entrepreneurship. The program will give participants a better understanding of entrepreneurship and the potential opportunities available to them, helping to set them up for greater future financial stability.
The State Department created the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund in 2011 to support alumni initiatives that promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges. The competition provides small grants to teams of past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs to carry out public service projects that utilize skills and knowledge they have gained through their exchange experiences.
Robber of Mummified Monk Found in Mongolia Sentenced to 6 Months Detention
Ulaanbaatar, May 13 (MONTSAME) The primary criminal court has decided to sentence D.Enkhtor, who had concealed and then attempted to sell the mummified remains of a Buddhist monk, to six months of detention.
It has been established that, on October of 2014 he broke the tomb of Sanjjav Lama–a high-rank Buddhist teacher resting at the front valley of Sodnomdarjaa Mountain of Tsakhir soum in Arkhangai aimag. On January 27 he was caught in the city's Songinokhairkhan district while attempting to sell the mummified corpse. A case launched this January 29, and investigations were conducted on a basis of 129.1 of the Criminal Law of Mongolia. The first investigation division of the district's Second Prosecutor's Office issued a bill of particulars and transferred the case to the second stage of the primary criminal court. It accused D.Enhktor of excavating graves and sentenced him to six-month detention.
Inspired by Zaya: Ch.Undram, Director of Academic Affairs, NUM
May 13 (gogo.mn) "Future of Mongolia is not just mining. Instead I believe our future is dependent on educated, intelligent and multifaceted youth". I want to proudly introduce those talented and educated young professionals to others.
"Inspired by Zaya" talk show aims to bring forward successful young professionals who are contributing to the development of Mongolia through their hard work and talent. Also it is a rare chance to introduce them to English language speakers living and working in Mongolia and abroad.
We are delivering the next episode of the Inspired by Zaya talk show hosted entirely in English language, encouraging and inspiring the future of Mongolia to commit to learning English language and enhance possibilities in life. This episode features Ch.Undram, Director of Academic Affairs at National University of Mongolia. For the full interview please click here.
Mongolian Pavilion Opens at Venice Biennale
May 13 (UB Post) The 56th Venice Biennale, an international art exhibition, is opening to the public from May 9 to November 22, 2015 in Venice, Italy.
The Mongolia Pavilion officially opened at the Venice Biennale on May 7, for Mongolia's first-ever participation in the event. Ulaanbaatar-born, Freiburg-based artist Kh.Unen-Enkh and artist T.Enkhbold are sharing their artwork at the event.
The Mongolia Pavilion explores modern-day mobility and displacement, raising questions about what and where "home" is and humanity's relationship with nature. The artists work with natural organic products from Mongolian nomadic traditions, such as felt, horsehair, horse dung, and wood. The Mongolia Pavilion consists of two presentations: a sedentary pavilion space at the Palazzo Mora and a nomadic pavilion with artist T.Enkhbold's performances presented at designated public spaces around the city of Venice.
The two artists were born and raised in Mongolia and experienced migration as young adults. Artist Kh.Unen-Enkh attended art schools in Prague and Budapest and later moved to the German city of Freiburg in Breisgau, where he completely transformed his art from two-dimensional graphic media to sculptures made with natural 'materials from his homeland.
T.Enkhbold's art includes a variety of media. His two-dimensional works, made primarily of horse dung, ash, sand, and wood, will be displayed at the Palazzo Mora. With these works, T.Enkhbold joins the artists who defy the traditional concept of painting and its usual materials. T.Enkhbold's performance art in Venice further develops ideas that he has explored previously at different locales around the world. T.Enkhbold questions the division between urban forms and his nature-based ger.
Venice was built by residents fleeing invasions by nomads, including Attila and the Huns in the 5th century. Centuries later, Venetian merchant Marco Polo (1254-1324) traveled to the Mongol Empire, where he spent 16 years at the Mongol Khan's court. T.Enkhbold, building upon the historical legacy of Venice's relationship with nomads and Mongols, will bring his performance art to the heart of Venice by settling around the city and socializing with Venice locals and visitors.
The Mongolia Pavilion is funded by leading Mongolian businesses and supported by Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul.
'Hot Stamp' Joint Exhibition, Best Art Gallery, May 11-17
May 13 (UB Post) Artists T.Otgonbaatar and D.Ariunbold are presenting their joint exhibition called "Hot Stamp" at Best Art Gallery. The opening of the exhibition took place on May 11, and the exhibition is on view through May 17. Overall, 15 interesting works made of metal are presented in the gallery.
"Compared to painting and sculpting, the development of metal working isn't rapid in Mongolia. That's why we wanted to be a part of it. All of the works were created through heating the metal. Metal is a material that is hard and cold. Through using this material, we aimed to show the flexibility, softness, and the kindness of human behavior and life. For example, the creation called 'Destiny' represents a human life. It shows the ups and downs of life," said artist D.Ariunbold.
Both of the artists are teachers. Many people, including their students, helped with the exhibition, which took one month to prepare.
"There are only two paintings mixed with the metal, while the rest of them are only metal creations. Works that are presented at the gallery might look very simple and easy. In fact, they require a lot of technique and procedure," stated the artist.
When I asked D.Ariunbold why the creations were only made of metal, he answered, "There are few artists in Mongolia who became diversified in the metal art field. Artist T.Otgonbaatar and I are adding our voices to this field."
D.Ariunbold's favorite piece is the creation called "Shurankhai". He said, "It was my very first creation. It took a lot of time to complete this work and it changed the whole meaning of the exhibition."
House fire kills three children in Khuvsgul
May 13 (UB Post) Three children died in a household fire last week in Khuvsgul Province. The cause of the fire is still unknown, and authorities reported that the children were left home without supervision and were locked from the outside.
The victims were two and 10-year-old boys and a six-year-old girl. Parents of the smaller boy and girl left the children with the 10-year-old boy, who was supposed to look after the younger children.
Khuvsgul Province Emergency Department received the report at 2:15 p.m. on Friday and a rescue team of 15 firefighters took two hours to put out the fire with three fire trucks. The children were already dead by the time they arrived. The house had timber walls and the fire quickly spread, according to Khuvsgul Province's Murun Soum Police.
The 10-year-old victim's body was found next to a window. Investigation revealed that his arms, hands and neck were covered in scratches and cuts from trying to find a way to escape through the windows. The house's windows had security barriers which prevented the victims from escaping.
The two younger children were found dead under a bed and forensics showed that they died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
My Response to Ch Munkhbayar's "Эрлийзийн асуудлыг хэрхэн шийдвэрлэх вэ?"
April 23, 2015 -- Reading a piece published by Ch. Munkhbayar recently (first on what I think is his blog on June 15th 2010 and again on Sonin.mn) has given me new hope that "erliiz" kids like me will be able to breathe easier and that their heritage, mixed blood, and ideas can be deemed as legitimate for even the most under-educated of folk. I stand in the camp that says "it can be done". Not tomorrow, not the day after, maybe not even the next year, but it can be done.
I did a little bit of research on Ch. Munkhbayar. He seems like an interesting fellow! He writes about history, society and the like, and his piece on the "erliiz" factor absolutely had my attention.
Before I begin, I want to set the record straight. I am a Mongolian-Mexican American college student. I have not lived in Mongolia, but having grown up with my Mongolian parent I am familiar with the nuances going around the "erliiz". Perhaps I cannot articulate myself in an academic level, nor converse in a proper learned way, but I do speak colloquial Mongolian and with that comes understanding of those nuances. Nevertheless, I have never really "lived" in Mongolia and my brief stays of less than one year hardly count as "living" so my perspective is purely my own. Take what you can from my piece, and leave what doesn't float your boat. I do not claim to know more, or everything, so if you feel there is something to educate or correct me on, please feel free to do so in the comments.
I do want to invite more "erliiz" people to start talking about their experiences.
While I was reading Mr Munkhbayar's piece, the review of history didn't astound me as much as the true social experiences I am aware of. The brief history helped me understand how exactly we got to this anti "erliiz" mentality, with special attention to the Chinese. This piece is not to debate against his opinions because I believe there's enough of that to go around. I want to use my blog space to express just how much I agree, because I do.
He has come up with three main points of how to deal with the "erliiz" factor in Mongolia:
The first point is to create legislation in Mongolia that will protect "erliiz" citizens. Mr Munkhbayar explains that by doing this, expressions like "erliiz hurliiz" to deride and diminish the opposition in politics will begin to stop. The idea here is to decriminalize lying about ethnic roots, because then society pegs a Mongolian citizen as a criminal for what? For being different. The main point is that a person is a Mongolian citizen. Period. They deserve protection, and being "erliiz" should not be criminal. If this kind of talk is diminished up top, then it will diminish even more with the people.
The second point is to conduct research on the "erliiz" and their history. There's are examples of mixed ethnicity in, say, African history, American history, Latin American history, European history, heck even in Asian history and in present society. Conversations about "erliiz", my kind, should be happening more boldly, and interpreted into Mongolian context simply because there are a growing number of Mongolian families mixed with other races and their kids will be adults someday. I personally know a handful of mixed Mongolians of my generation, and know many more being born in Mongolia and outside of Mongolia. How will Mongolian society deal with them if society knows nothing of them other than labeling them? Mixed race literature is not new, it's available. It has to be dealt with. The use of words like "apartheid", "assimilation", and "counter-assimilation" were present in his piece.
Of course, this is not to say everyone should mix until Mongolian culture turns to vapor and disappears. That's not what I am propagating here. I am only saying that the issue of the "erliiz" needs to be talked about from a healthy and accepting perspective. There's nothing to fear.
Fear, I want to talk about that. Fear is the cousin of shame and vice versa. I have been fortunate enough to grow up in an environment where I am not looked down upon for the color of my skin, or my ethnic background. The only shame I ever really felt was the shame of being half of a country, Mongolia, that didn't seem to like me, or understand me. Luckily, through Mongolian friends and mentors I respect, I've come to see that this doesn't have to be this way and I'm here writing about this today.
But I have spoken to some other "erliiz". Some have overcome, emotionally, the teasing from when they were children. Others have grown bitter and left Mongolia and chosen their "other side" almost ignoring their Mongolian heritage completely, which after their stories I can't really blame them for but it somehow makes me sad. Others have stayed because they love Mongolia and have those friends and family to love and appreciate them. What about those without a support system? But the "erliiz" that haunt me the most are the ones that are clearly "erliiz" but insist that they are not. My messages go unanswered, or they become defensive to my question. I look at their eyes, their hair, their nose, their skin tone. Of course they are "erliiz". The tall tale sign of a single parent upbringing also gives it away. It's painful that something I am so proud of, being mixed, being half Mongolian, can be such the bane of someone else's existence. Yet, unlike me, they are Mongolian citizens. What's that citizenship worth if society as a whole does not legitimise personal experiences and have that conversation? Sure, the "erliiz" numbers are probably not high enough to be recognised right now (can anyone give me exact numbers?) but they exist and deserve to speak and "brighten" the social fabric of Mongolia.
Then there's the fear by the extremists. I have acquaintances who flirt on the edge of extremism. How we are friends is beyond me, but I thank God for it because it's from those interactions that ideas and appreciation for one another is born. From them I can at least peek into their knowledge and begin to understand almost extremist logic. I can only then imagine that this zeal, taken up a few notches, can become aggressive and detrimental. They speak to me of their zeal and respect for Mongolian heritage, history, blood, and even succeed in awakening in me my own Mongolian zeal. It exists, of course, but it always stops where another nationality begins to get put down for the sake of extolling Mongolia.
Said friends will then eventually express their relief that I am "so Mongolian" and that they hope I marry a Mongolian and come to live and work in Mongolia someday to which I say thank you, and then I'll go on to express how I am offended by such comments known as "microaggressions". One of these acquaintances once asked me what the heck I was whining about, the "erliiz" are treated fine in Mongolia, but this acquaintance is probably as Mongolian as one could get. I asked him, how would you know? I didn't get an answer. We debate, then agree to disagree, then we are all somehow friends again.
Mr Munkhbayar makes an excellent point when discussing his second proposition. He says: "It is obvious that every 'erliiz' does not act against Mongolian interests. In fact, there are Chinese 'erliiz' who have contributed greatly to Mongolian culture". So why should it not be celebrated openly? He goes on to say that even if one "erliiz" were to go against Mongolian interests, we cannot judge entirely different peoples because of that one person. It's life basics, here.
I will say that I am sure in much of this discourse, it's really the Chinese "erliiz" Mongolia society is wary of as brutal history has taught, but I want to expand this discourse to all kinds of "erliiz", Latin, Caucasian, African because we too have tasted the bitterness of stigmatisation. Some might say, well, too bad that's how life is. Well, it's how life is until it's you on the other end. Anyone who has been humiliated, shamed, and cornered into silenced will understand this. The gays, the poor, everyone in the margins of society, and in the context of Mongolian society as it pertains to nationalism, the "erliiz".
Mr Munkhbayar's third and last point is that it's time to accept this aspect of Mongolian society, to talk about it, and not criminalise rightful Mongolian citizens for something they have no control over, who our parents are. We must act democratically, strategically, and I'd like to add, with kindness and respect.
Mongolian culture does not have to be considered "in danger". I feel this kind of panic when I talk to Mongolians sometimes. I get it, but then I wonder when we will begin to change our attitude about the whole matter. When I was little I used to be told that Mongolia has only a population of about 2 million. I was a little girl, what did I care about that? But what surprises me the most is that I am now an adult and that expression that has not changed. I still hear it. Instead of saying how unlucky and disadvantaged we are, could we talk about how lucky and advantaged we are? If anything, this positivity will attract Mongolian "erliiz" back to a nation that accepts them. And you know what they say, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. With awesome cultural policies to make sure the "erliiz" have loyalty to Mongolia, and Mongolians respect and appreciate them in return, imagine how much more could be done in a nation of now 3 million. Otherwise, it just seems like we're wasting precious time and human capital. Sure, encourage citizens to marry only Mongolians, but is a healthy respect (and knowledge) for the "erliiz" too much to ask for? It doesn't have be one or the other.
My favorite part of Mr Munkhbayar's piece is this: "We need to know who's who. It's important to be able to discern intentions, rather than say all erliiz are good, or all erliiz is bad."
I am half Mongolian, I am half Mexican. I am not afraid to criticise either society, because I love them both the same way I love my mother and my father. Mongolia is my mother, Mexico is my father. People have asked me, if you had to pick one, which would you choose? I respond, should I have to pick between my mother and my father? Do I love Mongolia? Yes I do. Do I love Mexico? Yes I do. Does it hurt when my compatriot from Mongolia fails? Yes it does. Does it hurt when my compatriot from Mexico fails? Yes it does. Do I cheer when they succeed? Yes I do. I don't know, maybe Mr Munkhbayar will disagree when I say that I root for both, but this is simply my own experience on the matter, on this word that's been used to describe me.
And what if I was half Chinese? Oh, that's touchy, I know. Well, I don't know what it's like because I'm not Chinese, and I know there's sensitive views about them, among other Asians (but mostly the Chinese). Is there any text written by Mongolian Chinese people? I'd like to read some if they exist.
We need to start talking about what it means to be "erliiz" in Mongolia, and in that, inevitably I think the question of "What does it mean to be Mongolian [in light of these new mixed blood Mongolians]?" has to be reassessed. To those people who say things are fine, I want to ask why things shouldn't be exponentially better. And alas, I don't have all the answers, but I'd sure like to help figure them out.
It starts with us.
PS: To Mr Munkhbayar: if somehow this reaches you, thank you. I learned a lot, and you've inspired me to keep learning and speaking about this topic. Greetings from Australia, best of luck in your endeavors.
Stuck in Doha: I am ashamed of the Mongolian Wrestling Federation says athlete
May 13 (UB Post) The Asian Wrestling Championship took place in Doha, Qatar from May 6 to 10. The Mongolian national wrestling team headed to Doha on May 3, but four members of the team couldn't participate in the tournament as they reportedly had counterfeit visas.
The four include athletes N.Gombodorj, N.Zolboo and D.Khuderbulga, and coach of the men's team B.Bayaraa who were detained at the Dubai International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport for four days.
The group said that they had no knowledge of the legitimacy of their visa as it was provided by the Mongolia Wrestling Federation, and said that they were ashamed of the federation for not helping them.
The four returned to Mongolia on May 9.
The athletes and coach commented on the issue.
D.Gombodorj: We laid on a cold floor for three days
We wished to conquer the Asian Wrestling Championship. The federation gave us e-visa before heading to Doha. The visa serial, which was scanned at the customs in Dubai matched my first name and surname. But there was a different name, D.Tsogtbaatar, instead of mine at the immigration checkpoint of Dubai. We spent three nights locked-up at the immigration and laid on a cold floor.
It's a shame that I couldn't participate in the championship, which is organized once a year. We get a right to compete in the World Championship by winning points at the Asian Championship. I don't know if I can take part in the World Championship. I don't know how this problem will be resolved. I also lost my baggage.
D.Khuderbulga: I went to Doha to defend my previous Asian Champion title
I became the Asian Wrestling Champion of 2014. I left for Doha to defend my previous success. I realized that something went wrong in my visa, when I scanned visa at the customs in Qatar. There was a different name. It stated "S.Nyam-Ochir" on my visa. The customs staff took my passport and started to take my fingerprint. I went back to Dubai and was detained for three days. After that we were also detained at the Beijing Airport for five hours. Then we went to the Embassy of Mongolia in Beijing. Ambassador Ts.Sukhbaatar said that the Mongolian Wrestling Federation didn't contact the embassy. The Mongolian Wrestling Federation was very irresponsibility.
N.Zolboo: I am worried about how this issue will affect my sports career
The Asian Wrestling Championship was the biggest tournament of this year for me. I wanted to improve on my last year's success. The name on my visa was wrong at the Dubai customs. After being detained for three days in Dubai, we went to Beijing, and there was a problem in my visa in Beijing. I am really worried about what will happen to us and how it will be resolved. I am afraid of not being qualified in future tournaments.
Coach B.Bayaraa, who also couldn't attend the Asian Championship, gave an interview about the issue.
Why were you detained at the Dubai International Airport?
The Mongolian team had a flight to Qatar, which passed through Beijing, on May 3.
The federation gave us e-visas before we headed to Doha. There was no visa violation detected at the Beijing Capital International Airport. After we landed at the Dubai International Airport, three of my trainees ran into a visa violation problem. We waited for response from the Qatar Wrestling Federation. Suddenly, a custom officer said that visa stamps on our passports were fake and took our registration papers. We were shocked. Names and numbers on the visa matched our passports' names and numbers.
Customs officer's computer showed totally different names when the wrestlers' registration numbers were scanned.
The immigration staff treated us like criminals. They asked, "Which one of you four has a connection to the Qatar Wrestling Federation and tried to smuggle you?" During the questioning, the immigration was very unpleasant to us.
We responded, "We don't know why our visa has a problem. Please tell about us to the Mongolian Wrestling Federation and the Embassy of Mongolia in Kuwait."
I am very disappointed that none of our representatives or officials from the Mongolian Wrestling Federation took care of us, or even tried to contact us. No one came to meet us. We were afraid that we have been linked to some crime. They detained us immediately with no explanation. The cell was very dirty and smelled like excrement.
We wrote a post on Facebook and asked for help. But the Embassy of Mongolia in Kuwait and Beijing, and the Mongolian Wrestling Federation didn't help.
Whose names appeared on the visas you were give?
The visa serial numbers scanned at the checkpoint showed different names, such as D.Tsogtbaatar instead of D.Gombodorj, E.Nyam-Ochir instead of D.Khuderbulga, and T.Luvsandorj instead of N.Zolboo.
Was there something wrong with your visa?
I got a new passport before heading to Qatar. My old passport number was written on my visa. I showed a copy of my old passport and immigration allowed me to go to Qatar. I was able to leave to take part in the Asian Wrestling Championship. But I couldn't leave my trainees. They asked me to stay.
Head coach of the Mongolian men's wrestling team Ts.Tsogtbayar gave an interview about the incident. He competed in the men's 74 kg event of the Asian Championship instead of his trainee N.Zolboo, who was detained at the airport in Dubai.
You competed in the men's 74 kg event of the championship instead of N.Zolboo. How did you feel? What's your opinion on the recent incident in Dubai?
I had to compete in the tournament instead of N.Zolboo. If I didn't wrestle, N.Zolboo would have lost his right to participate in international tournaments. All Mongolian wrestlers that compete in the 74 kg event may not be able participate in tournaments in the future, not only N.Zolboo.
Mongolia became the laughing stock at the championship. It's a shame that I competed in the tournament instead of my trainee. Now I am 45 years old and have a big belly. I am ashamed of the Mongolian Wrestling Federation.
Why were the three athletes' visa counterfiets?
The federation has to sends the information of athletes to the Asian Wrestling Championship. I gave my athletes' information to the federation. The federation said that they submitted the necessary documents.
The three athletes' visa was issued 10 days prior to the Asian Wrestling Championship. Others' were issued before. On May 2, the federation called me and said "The three wrestlers' visa is fine now."
I checked their visa serial numbers and names and all matched. I thought it was fine and the Mongolian team left for Qatar. Things turned wrong at the Dubai International Airport. N.Zolboo and D.Gombodorj stayed in Dubai and D.Khuderbulga went with the team. But D.Khuderbulga's visa was defective in Doha.
The wrestlers and coach B.Bayaraa said that the Mongolian Wrestling Federation did nothing for them. Can you comment on this?
The Mongolian Wrestling Federation has been discriminating the national men's team. I am sure the federation doesn't take care of the men's team. President D.Dagvadorj (68th Grand Champion of professional sumo wrestling) always insults me. In addition, his brother MP D.Sumiyabazar said, "Shaking hands with you disgusts me."
A leader can't behave like that. I imagine what they will do after reading my interview. My heart has been with wrestling since my childhood. I don't want my athletes to fail. Administrates of the federation don't have the ability to lead the organization. We can see their responsibility from the recent case in Dubai.
The press always reports good thing about D.Dagvadorj since he was appointed as the president of the federation.
Actually that is not true. I think that the federation staff are afraid of D.Dagvadorj and D.Sumiyabazar. It is time to tell the truth. I've never met a leader as cruel, bossy and rude as D.Dagvadorj.
D.Dagvadorj said he resolved all problems. Why did you wrestle, if he resolved all the issues?
Firstly, I trusted him. I trusted that he was doing something for the wrestlers who were detained in Dubai. But that was a lie. Other officials said your athletes could have gone to jail. I didn't want to waste the hard training of my trainees. That's why I participated in the tournament instead of them.
It takes one hour from Doha to Dubai. Why didn't the president of the federation D.Dagvadorj meet them?
It shows how he is not committed to his job.
E.Nyam-Ochir and G.Mandakhnaran won medals from the World Wrestling Championship. But the federation didn't reward them. Other federations always give prizes and awards to their athletes. The women's team and female athletes of the Mongolian Wrestling Federation are always awarded with cash prizes, apartments and cars.
The federation should give reward to the men's team and take care of them. I am responsible for what I said. I didn't blame innocent people.
Did the federation give an explanation to the three athletes?
No. There is the federation's vice president in charge of foreign affairs B.Tumurbaatar. He's still doing nothing. I have been going to tournaments with him for two years. But we didn't greet each other and talk to each other. I tried to say hello to him but he acted like he didn't hear me.
Sources: Tavan tsagarig, Undesnii shuudan
6th Floor, NTN Tower
Baga Toiruu, Chingeltei District 1
Ulaanbaatar 15170, Mongolia
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.