President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga (retranslated):President Putin, President Xi Jinping, ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to welcome you today. I am happy to participate and chair the fifth meeting of the leaders of Mongolia, Russia and China.
Developing friendly, neighbourly relations and strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation with the Russian Federation and China is Mongolia’s foreign policy priority.
I am satisfied with the active development of cooperation with Russia and China at the level of strategic partnership and in every area of social interaction.
Within the framework of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and China, this April I paid a successful state visit to China and took part in the summit of the countries participating in the Belt and Road International Forum.
We have begun preliminary work to organise President Putin’s visit to Mongolia. I am confident that this visit will be a success, while the joint celebrations marking the historic 80th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol will be splendid.
The Mongolian people are pleased with the active development of relations between our eternal neighbours, Russia and China. I congratulate Chinese President Xi Jinping on his recent successful state visit to Russia.
The stable development of bilateral cooperation between our three countries at such a high level creates a more favourable environment for the development of trilateral cooperation. As a result of joint efforts made in the past several years, a trilateral cooperation mechanism has been formed, the legal foundations have been strengthened and the framework of our cooperation has been expanded.
We achieved considerable progress in transit traffic. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of trains running from China to Russia and on to the European countries through Mongolian territory increased by over 500 percent, which serves as a prime example of improved trilateral coordination.
But I think you will agree that trilateral cooperation is not yet where it should be. It is unfortunate that in the three years since the approval of the programme to create the economic corridor, there has been no implementation of any concrete project that could improve people’s lives and contribute to the development of our three countries’ economies.
Moreover, there has been no project with a completed feasibility study acceptable to all three sides. Therefore, following today’s meeting, we need to give concrete instructions to our countries’ agencies to intensify trilateral cooperation.
For instance, I would like to have a constructive exchange of views with you concerning how we can accelerate the implementation of priority projects within the framework of the programme to establish the economic corridor.
I also suggest issuing concrete instructions on establishing a working group to analyse the feasibility of a pipeline construction project that we have been talking about for many years.
The Mongolian side proposes establishing a multilateral mechanism to study the prospects of creating an integrated energy network in Northeast Asia.
And now I yield the floor to President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Xi Jinping, President Khaltmaagiin Battulga,
Russia is committed to the development of trilateral relations with China and Mongolia based on the principles of neighbourliness, equality and respect for the interests of each other. It is a priority of Russia’s foreign policy.
Over the past five years since we first met in this format, we have progressed toward a more harmonious mutual relationship. We have developed a regular exchange of opinions between our foreign ministries, and our sectoral ministries, parliaments and business communities maintain close ties with each other.
We are promoting trade and investment exchanges. We have launched the implementation of two extremely ambitious agreements aimed at energising ties between our countries. I am referring to the roadmap on trilateral cooperation and the Russia-China-Mongolia economic corridor.
The projects that are to be implemented under these agreements fit in with the integration processes ongoing in Eurasia with the participation of our countries. I am referring to the development of the Eurasian Economic Union, the implementation of China’s Belt and Road initiative and Mongolia’s Steppe Road initiative, and, ultimately, the formation of the Greater Eurasian Partnership on this basis.
In our cooperation we give priority to improving the regional transport infrastructure. We are interested in enhancing the interconnectivity of our three states and ensuring free cross-border movement of goods, capital and services.
We believe the plans to upgrade the corridor based around the Ulaanbaatar Railway are of particular importance. In cooperation with our Chinese and Mongolian partners we intend to enhance the capacity of this transport artery and, as a result, to increase the flow of cargoes transported from China to European markets and back several times over.
Another important infrastructure project, in our view, is the laying of the new Zuunbayan – Khangi railway line. The construction of this section for Russia and Mongolia with a track gauge of 1,520 mm will make it possible to redistribute freight traffic by reducing the load on the existing border hub on the Russia-Mongolia border.
Implementation of a trilateral agreement on international road transport will help our countries to make better use of their transit potential. This document has eased border procedures for automobile drivers and shipping companies and allowed them to travel through the territories of our countries using their national driving licenses and license plates.
Russia is also ready for closer energy cooperation with China and Mongolia. We are interested in getting specific proposals on potential joint projects from our Chinese and Mongolian partners. In turn, we suggest ensuring failsafe energy supplies to the regions of our neighbours that are experiencing power shortages.
The task of increasing the share of transactions in national currencies is becoming more and more urgent due to the instability in global financial markets. We have talked about this a great deal recently. If you are interested in this, and I know that in principle you are interested, we could discuss, for instance, connecting China and Mongolia to the Bank of Russia’s financial messaging system. We are talking about this with our Chinese friends on a bilateral basis.
The unification of customs regulations on the basis of the trilateral departmental agreement on the mutual recognition of customs clearance for individual goods is creating major opportunities for building up trade.
Naturally, promoting contacts between the business communities of Russia, China and Mongolia is in our common interest. I would like to mention the successful activities of the joint Trade and Economic Forum that will soon hold its regular meeting in Krasnoyarsk.
In conclusion, I would like to thank our Mongolian friends for preparing our trilateral meeting. I am convinced the agreements reached today will continue facilitating cooperation between Russia, China and Mongolia in all areas.
Khaltmaagiin Battulga: Thank you very much, President Putin.
I give the floor to President of China Xi Jinping.
President of China Xi Jinping (retranslated): President Putin, President Khaltmaagiin Battulga,
I am very glad to hold the fifth meeting between the leaders of China, Russia and Mongolia together with you. This is the second time the three of us are meeting like this after the meeting in Qingdao last June. We will go over the results of our cooperation together and discuss its further development.
I have just carefully listened to your proposals regarding trilateral cooperation. I completely share your positive assessment of our cooperation. China, Russia and Mongolia are good neighbours and reliable partners that always help each other. We have a geographic advantage and a great tradition of trilateral cooperation in Guigang [city district in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China].
In September 2014 we held our first meeting in Dushanbe. Since then, we have begun to concentrate our efforts on the key areas of our cooperation project, adopted the roadmap for the development of cooperation between China, Russia and Mongolia for the medium term. It is a fundamental document that sets out the main principles and areas of trilateral cooperation.
We have also signed the programme to establish an economic corridor, determined important areas of the practical trilateral cooperation project, including this economic corridor, and created a mechanism of interaction between our specialised agencies. Last June we held our fourth meeting in Qingdao and outlined the strategic plan for the continued advancement of our cooperation.
Throughout last year we have been maintaining close contact and constantly enriching our cooperation. Last September we signed a memorandum on the mechanism of our economic corridor, and this mechanism is good and effective.
Speaking about intergovernmental agreements on international shipping along the Asian road network, the agreement came into effect last September, which established a legal base for our cooperation in transport.
The parties also approved the rules of customs cooperation – another important result of our interaction. This year China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Russia and Mongolia. New opportunities lie ahead of us.
At a time when protectionism and unilateralism are rearing their heads in the world, we must stay true to the goal of supporting regional cooperation and achieving joint development in the context of national development strategy integration, and promoting political, security, economic and trade cooperation between regions.
I am ready to make the following proposals.
First, I propose directing and supporting the course of trilateral cooperation from a strategic and political standpoint. Good political relations, specifically neighbourliness, friendship and a high level of mutual trust, are a good foundation of our trilateral cooperation.
We must adhere to the principles set by the medium-term roadmap: to support mutual political trust, respect each other’s core interests, continue our trilateral cooperation and set an example of mutually beneficial, equitable cooperation.
Second, we must promote our trilateral cooperation via key joint projects. The economic corridor is the most notable aspect of our cooperation. We should first implement the projects we have reached consensus on – those which have a solid foundation and will have great influence in the future.
I consider modernisation of the central railway line to be a priority project in the economic corridor. I hope the sides will carry out stage-by-stage feasibility study in order to lay the foundation for implementing this project.
We support the idea of creating favourable conditions for customs clearance between our countries and rebuilding main check points so as to enhance their throughput capacity.
Interregional ties are also an important part of trilateral cooperation. Inner Mongolia, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the provinces of Gansu and Heilongjiang have a good tradition of cooperating with border areas of Mongolia and Russia. We also have a good tradition and a sound foundation of cooperation. We can promote such cooperation by encouraging contacts among local administrations.
The President of Mongolia has just suggested creating power grids in Northeast Asia. We also support this project. We can jointly conduct a thorough analysis and implement these projects to develop electricity supplies in Northeast Asia.
We also support the laying of oil and gas pipelines. I suggest studying this issue in terms of technical and economic feasibility.
Third, SCO cooperation and coordination should be expanded. Following its expansion, the SCO is enjoying positive dynamics and playing a greater role in ensuring stability and security and promoting the development and prosperity of all countries. The international community values this role. More and more countries are interested in promoting cooperation with the SCO.
If Mongolia joins the organisation, it will also make the most of its advantages, play a major part in SCO cooperation and derive substantial benefits. The sooner a decision on Mongolia’s accession to the SCO is adopted, the more opportunities it will enjoy to benefit from this cooperation and make progress as a nation.