Mongolia: Issues for Congress Susan V. Lawrence

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Published: June 14th 2011

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Mongolia: Issues for Congress  by  Susan V. Lawrence

Mongolia: Issues for Congress by Susan V. Lawrence
June 14th 2011 | Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, RTF | | ISBN: | 10.45 Mb

Mongolia is a sparsely populated young democracy in a remote part of Asia, sandwiched between two powerful large neighbors, China and Russia. It made its transition to democracy peacefully in 1990, after nearly 70 years as a Soviet satellite state.MoreMongolia is a sparsely populated young democracy in a remote part of Asia, sandwiched between two powerful large neighbors, China and Russia.

It made its transition to democracy peacefully in 1990, after nearly 70 years as a Soviet satellite state. Congress has shown a strong interest in Mongolia’s development since, through the funding of assistance programs, ratification of a bilateral investment treaty, legislation to extend permanent normal trade relations, and passage of six resolutions commending Mongolia’s progress and supporting strong U.S.-Mongolia relations.

Mongolia’s president, Tsakhia Elbegdorj, is scheduled to visit the White House and Capitol Hill on June 16, 2011.Congressional interest is Mongolia has been strong in large part because of the country’s story of democratic development. Since passing a democratic constitution in 1992, Mongolia has held five direct presidential elections and five direct parliamentary elections.

The State Department credits Mongolia’s current government with “generally respect[ing]” freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association. Mongolia’s democracy has sometimes been chaotic, however, and the 2008 parliamentary election was marred by violence that claimed five lives. Corruption is a mounting concern for many observers.On the economic front, a mining boom is predicted to make Mongolia’s economy the fastest growing in the world by 2013.

(The World Bank’s annual GDP growth rate projection for Mongolia in 2013 is 22.9%.) Mongolia’s mineral wealth, including significant reserves of coal, copper, gold, and uranium, offers investment opportunities for American companies.

The U.S. Embassy in Mongolia has, however, raised concerns about Mongolia’s investment climate, which it sees as non-transparent, unpredictable, and potentially “expropriatory.” The United States and Mongolia are negotiating a transparency agreement that could address some U.S. concerns.To balance the influence of its two large neighbors, China and Russia, Mongolia has embraced an active foreign policy designed to raise its international profile and win it the support of friends far from its borders.

It was among the first nations to join the coalition for the Iraq War, deploying troops in Iraq from 2003 to 2008. Its troops have been deployed in Afghanistan since 2003.Mongolia is an active participant in many international organizations, in which it often supports U.S. positions. In 1992, Mongolia declared itself a single-state nuclear-weapons-free zone- establishing the zone in international law has been a major goal of Mongolia’s foreign policy. China has emerged as Mongolia’s largest trading partner and foreign investor, although each country remains wary of the other.

Russia is Mongolia’s largest source of energy products, and is cooperating with Mongolia in development of Mongolia’s uranium reserves. To ensure its continued independence and sovereignty, Mongolia has also prioritized the development of relations with so-called “third neighbors,” countries that do not border Mongolia, but have close ties to Mongolia. That list includes the United States, Japan, Korea, Germany, and India.This report is divided into three main sections. The first discusses Mongolia’s democratic development. The second discusses economic issues, and the third discusses Mongolia’s engagement with the world.

Appendix A lists major legislation related to Mongolia from the 102nd Congress to the present. Appendix B lists the outcomes of Mongolia’s five direct presidential elections and five direct parliamentary elections to date. The report also includes a map of Mongolia showing major railways and the location of significant mineral deposits.



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