Why is Russia Favored by Mongolia and North Korea? by Jargalsaikhan Mendee

[Long-time friend of CanKor, Jargalsaikhan Mendee is a political science PhD student at the University of British Columbia. Col. Mendee has previously worked at the Mongolian Ministry of Defense, Embassy in Washington, DC, and at the Institute for Strategic Studies. He has taken special interest in military transitions in Mongoloa and has compared these to similar processes happening in the DPRK. His paper “Civil-Military Relations in a Dictatorship: North Korea” appears as Chapter 7 in The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations (edited by Thomas C. Bruneau and Florina Cristiana Matei; published 10 September 2012, Hardback, ISBN: 978-0-415-78273-9, 380 pp., $200.00). The current article was published on 21 August 2012 in PacNet #52, a publication of the Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu, Hawaii. –CanKor]

Russia is favored by Mongolia and North Korea just as the United States is welcomed by some of its Southeast Asian partners. At the same time, Mongolia and especially North Korea provide opportunities for Russia to raise its stakes in Northeast Asian matters.

Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and relative inattention by the Kremlin in the 1990s, Ulaanbaatar and Pyongyang never abandoned their attempts to renew ties with Russia. High-ranking political and military officials constantly made calls to advance political, military, economic, and cultural ties with Moscow. Positive responses came after a decade, under Russian President Putin. Putin’s visit to the DPRK and Mongolia in 2000 demonstrated the Kremlin’s new emphasis on two its former allies, whose industrial facilities and enterprises were built with Soviet assistance and technology. Their treaties of mutual assistance with Russia were replaced by treaties of good neighborliness in 1993 (Mongolia) and 2001 (North Korea). And the $11 billion debts incurred during the Soviet era, were resolved favorably for Mongolians in 2003 and North Koreans in 2012. As a result, Russia seems to have secured its stake in key infrastructure development projects. In North Korea, Russia will invest in the trans-Korean railway, a gas pipeline, special economic zones, and education. Russia will invest in the trans-Mongolian railway, its extension, and the mining of uranium and aluminum in Mongolia. Economic cooperation with Mongolia and North Korea will play an important role in Putin’s agenda to develop Russia’s long-neglected Far East and Siberia and to secure Chinese and East Asian markets for its mineral exports. Read the rest of this entry »

Mongolia’s View of the Current Situation of North Korea by R. Badamdamdin

[R. Badamdamdin is a former Member of Parliament in the People’s Great Khural (Assembly) of Mongolia. He delivered this address to the International Leadership Conference of the Universal Peace Federation in Seoul, ROK, on Tuesday, 24 January 2012. –CanKor]

R, Badamdamdin

Frequent unexpected events on the Korean peninsula negatively impact the quest for stable development in northeast Asia. In easing such difficult circumstances, peaceful democratic countries in the region seek to maintain a relationship with the two Koreas, as trustful friends of the Korean people, through good communications. Mongolia is among these countries.

Mongolia has had good relations with North Korea since its founding in the 1940s. Even though the scale is not large, the relationship between the two countries has been friendly and close. In particular, as a result of efforts of non-governmental organizations, many types of exchanges such as business, individual, arts, culture, sports, and so forth, have been formed between the two nations.

The Mongolian government has expressed interest in developing a relationship between the two countries, and it has initiated several meetings for this purpose. Such state-level approaches characterize Mongolia’s support for North Korea.

It is very possible to develop mutually beneficial cooperation on various levels between the business sectors of the two countries. For instance, Mongolia has imported from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea workforce for mining, building infrastructure, urban development, and agriculture. Thanks to these laborers, Mongolia has been able to supplement its lack of construction workers. Mongolia’s agricultural sector, on the other hand, helps resolve the food issues of North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »

Recognizing the Human Behind the Ideology

by Col. Jargalsaikhan Mendee, graduate student from Mongolia, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, 12 July 2010

Attending a reading by Erich Weingartner at UBC last May, I couldn’t help feeling the pain of his fictional friend Pak Kim Li. Mr. Pak is in the middle of everything: ideology, civilization, history and humans. Pak’s story was touching because we have lived in a similar closed society in Mongolia. Personally, Pak’s story was believable because my experience was similar to his. Pak’s story is heartbreaking because after so many years, we are still not doing enough to understand him and his people. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: