Mon, Nov 21, 2005 - Page 9 News List

Mongolia ready for visit from its Third Neighbor

By Richard Halloran

On the international scene, a colonel in the Mongol army, Adiya Tuvshintugs, said his nation's military forces took part in UN peacekeeping operations that it "perceived as a duty of a sovereign member of that organization."

He applauded a "US pledge to offer training and technical assistance in this task."

The colonel, who is also a scholar, noted that Mongolia had declared it would not permit nuclear weapons on its territory as part of a policy "of safeguarding the nation's security by political and diplomatic means."

A US scholar who has taught in Mongolia, Stephen Noerper, urged Washington to adopt a comprehensive Mongolian action plan.

There should be more high-level exchanges, including delegations from the Congress. In the State Department, Mongolian affairs should be removed from supervision by China specialists, he said.

Noerper proposed US aid in educational exchanges and support for building democratic institutions.

"Mongolia needs friends to help address its security realities," he said, particularly against Chinese migration and terrorist infiltration. Mongolia should be invited into more Northeast Asian multilateral dialogues.

Economically, he suggested that a "Northeast Asia Free Trade Association with the US, Japan and Korea would further enhance Mongolia's Third Neighbor options and reinforce the Mongolia-Korea-Japan natural economic territory."

Richard Halloran is a writer based in Hawaii.

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