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Luncheon Address at the 9th Asian Security Conference

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  • His Excellency Mr. Mishig Sonompil, Defence Minister of Mongolia
    February 09, 2007

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    It is a special privilege to me to address this distinguished audience. First, I would like to thank Hon'ble Pranab Mukherjee for inviting me to this conference. I would like to thank Hon'ble A. K. Antony for giving me an opportunity to visit India and get a closer look at the country, which I read and heard about a lot.

    I think some people may be guessing on Mongolian Defence Minister's participation in the conference on South-East Asia's Security Dynamics. Let me explain in a few words about my business here at the conference.

    As a Member of Parliament and Cabinet, I am tasked by the Mongolian Government to participate at the 9th Asian Security Conference to promote Mongolian security policy and to inform the distinguished audience on our willingness for broader engagement in Asia's security institutions.

    Today security issues are not able to be confined within a single country, neighbours and regions as well as within geographical terms. Mongolia is neighbouring only with two countries, Russia and China, enjoying good, friendly relationship. In traditional understanding of security it should be good enough. But our understanding of national security is much broader so we are keen to get engaged into regional and global security co-operation.

    In this sense Mongolia's incline towards South-East Asia, the only region in Asia with established working security dialogue institutions appears to be logical. Mongolia is giving a significant importance in this direction of its foreign and security policy. Besides positive results of our actions we face some difficulties, which often do come along with new policies. In my consideration these difficulties are the remnants of our recent past. Throughout most part of the 20th century Mongolia was dominated by the world's most notorious, self-isolated communist regime, which was thrown out in 1990. From that time on Mongolia is successfully pursuing a democratic way of development. A decade of democratisation of its governance and social life, opening up its economy to global economic co-operation for free trade and investment have started to bring its first results. Mongolia has already passed the difficult time of transition and enjoying a time of relatively stable growth with 8 to 10 per cent of annual GDP growth.

    In 1997 Mongolia joined ARF, and since that time has actively participated in its activities. Furthermore we want to deepen our involvement in ARF activities with particular reference to the security agenda. Mongolia is an observer to the SCO, the organisation establishing itself as a political, security and economic co-operation institution with growing international recognition and importance. We are looking for broadening our participation in SCO.

    Mongolia has received an invitation for membership in Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). We are looking for full membership in 2007 during its annual meeting this time in Beijing, China.

    In November 2005 Mongolia signed the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Co-operation, looking forward for membership in East Asia forum, which, we hope, will be able to evolve itself into the important political, economic and security co-operation institution in East Asia.

    We are expecting an APEC membership in 2007, after its new membership moratorium will end. We are also looking for support of APEC members on such an important occasion for us.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    It was my attempt to briefly inform you on my nation's foreign and security policy within this short time given to me. It was a great opportunity and privilege to me to inform such a distinguished audience consisting of governments or their think tanks and top officials from all Asia and Pacific. I believe that your understanding and goodwill would be imperative for Mongolia's future prospects.

    Thank you all again.

    I wish a great success to the 9th Asian Security Conference.