Over the recent years, the Mongolian Government has been actively seeking to expand its bilateral relations with the countries in the Asia-Pacific region and engage in regional security dialogue. This is consistent with the approach set out in the Mongolia's Foreign policy concept, where strengthening of bilateral relations are seen as the building blocks for effective regional and global strategies. The establishment of such bilateral security linkages is encouraged by the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and complements multilateral dialogue on regional security issues.
In July 2000, parliamentary elections were held in Mongolia, the fourth elections since the onset of democratic reforms a decade ago. The elections were recognized as free and fair by all political forces as well as international observers and served as a testimony of further consolidation of democratic norms and institutions in Mongolia. They proved once again that the embrace of democracy and respect for human rights are an irreversible choice made by the Mongolian people.
As a result of the elections, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party won an overwhelming majority of seats in the Parliament. The new Government has reiterated its robust commitment to consolidation of democracy and continuity of reforms. The task of ensuring human security and promoting human-centered development is high on the agenda of the Government, as envisaged in its Action Program.
In pursuing its foreign policy based on the continuity of a multi-pillar, open and pro-active policy, Mongolia will continue to develop and expand its friendly relations with the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China on the principles of good-neighborliness, mutual benefit and equality. The Government will accord high importance to the further development of bilateral relations with the industrialized nations, including the United States of America, Japan, other Asian and Pacific countries, and members of the European Union. Their political, moral and financial support will continue to play an important role in facilitating our efforts in carrying out simultaneous economic and political reforms. The Government will actively strive to strengthen our traditional, long-standing relations with Eastern and Central European countries as well as with the developing countries of Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and Africa.
In May 2001, the Mongolian people re-elected for another 4-year term its incumbent President, thus consolidating the political force in power and ensuring the stability of the Government.
Mongolia hosted last year an international conference on "Human Security in a Globalized World" with the participation of the United Nations and international experts, which produced detailed recommendations on a wide range of human security issues. The conference recommendations pointed out that "human security and national security of Mongolia will be best met if Mongolia continues, among other things, friendly relations with her neighbors, seizing the opportunities of globalization and active participation in" relevant regional security and economic arrangements.
In January 2001 the Government of Mongolia, within the priority areas of its activities launched the Good Governance for Human Security Program that embraces issues of human security and capacity building for good governance. The Program aims at supporting formulation, operationalization and implementation of the priority objectives of the Government's Action Program. The Good Governance for Human Security program with its four components, namely economic transition, equity and social policy, environment and sustainable development and sound governance, envisions creation of an enabling environment for better ensuring human -
security in all its dimensions.
Mongolia's Contribution to Regional Security
The Government of Mongolia is committed to developing mutually beneficial bilateral relations and cooperation with all the countries in the region. Mongolia began the year of 2001 with a strong emphasis on its course of rapprochement with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region as President B.Bagabandi visited the Republic of Korea, Singapore, India and Nepal, while Prime Minister N.Enkhbayar went to Japan in February 2001 on his first official visit abroad since assuming office in July 2000.
The first visit by President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation to Mongolia at the end of 2000 was also the first trip to Mongolia of a Russian Head of State since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Mongolia has also received the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea and Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China this summer.
In an effort to engage the regional countries in a dialogue on regional security issues, Mongolia carried out bilateral consultations with Russia, China, USA and Canada in the spring of 2001. Bilateral political consultation with Japan is expected to take place in July 2001. The consultations showed the growing interest of the parties concerned in holding talks not only on issues related to bilateral relations but also on broader regional security issues thus contributing to building of trust among countries.
North East Asia Security Challenges: Mongolia's Perceptions
Northeast Asia is a region where the interests of the big and powerful intersect, where the leftovers of cold war era are discernible, and territorial issues await their positive solution. Nonetheless, the groundbreaking developments of the recent past give rise to optimism and hope. The historic inter-Korean summit that took place in 2000 has played a crucial role for building trust and confidence between the countries of the sub-region. A multitude of recent bilateral contacts between the major stakeholders manifest, to a certain extent, to an emerging political will of the countries concerned to intensify the process of dialogue and consultations with a view to resolving the existing problems and eliminating the causes of tension that overshadowed this region in the past. These developments may well positively impact on the situation in Northeast Asia as a whole. Proceeding from this premise, the Foreign Minister of Mongolia proposed in his address at the General Debate of the Millennium Assembly that "the time may have come to start thinking about the possibility of engaging in a dialogue starting from a free exchange of views. .." at Track I level in Northeast Asia, which due to its historical and geopolitical realities, is probably the only sub-region that lacks a mechanism at the governmental level where security issues of concern could be discussed collectively. Cognizant of the fact that it will take considerable efforts and political will, Mongolia has been pursuing bilateral consultations on ways and means to promote this initiative with the relevant countries in Northeast Asia. Various ideas and proposals to this effect have been floating around for some time, but no serious discussion of this issue has taken place so far at Track I level.
Additionally, Mongolia has been actively participating in Track II activities in Northeast Asia. Mongolia intends to host the next Symposium on Northeast Asian Security /SNEAS/ in 2002.
As its contribution to enhancing stability and confidence building in the region, Mongolia declared its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone back in 1992. The adoption of another resolution (55/33/S) by the General Assembly at its 55th session on "Mongolia's International Security and Nuclear- Weapon-Free Status" and the Joint Statement by the P-5 providing security assurances to Mongolia in connection with its nuclear-weapon-free status represented important steps along the road to institutionalizing it at the international level thus complementing Mongolia's efforts at the national level. As a follow-up to its declaration, the Parliament of Mongolia adopted in February 2000 a law on Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status.
As another demonstration of its commitment to promote transparency and confidence building in the region, Mongolia published its first Foreign Policy Blue Book (July 2000) and the second Defense Policy White Book (May 2001).