Mongolia should not let nationalism blind it to importance of relationship with China

By Xiao Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/13 22:28:39

The lingering nationalist sentiment in Mongolia is not a cure for the country's economic woes. As economic globalization continues to develop, Mongolia cannot sit on the sidelines. The nation should be more active in promoting China's Belt and Road (B&R) initiative to revive its economy.

China is a beacon of hope for the country as it seeks to claw its way out of economic recession, partly because of the geographic proximity of the two countries. But also, there's no other country that could lend much of a helping hand to Mongolia, and even Russia would only play a limited role in helping Mongolia out of its economic problems.

China announced earlier this year a raft of measures to assist its debt-mired neighbor, including favorable loan terms and the extension of a bilateral currency swap deal.

Also, it should be mentioned that while Mongolia has had a sustained trade deficit with many countries including Russia, China has continued importing more from Mongolia than it exports to the country. Citing data released by Mongolian government, Xing Haiming, the Chinese ambassador to Mongolia, said in a recent article published in the Mongolian media that the country recorded an overall deficit of $4.6 billion in its foreign trade from 2007 to 2016, but its trade surplus with China reached $18.8 billion over the 10 years. This means that Mongolia's per capita trade surplus with China over the past decade hit nearly $7,000, a conspicuous boost for local people's income.

Looking ahead, the B&R initiative is set to present Mongolia, an important country along the route, with a multitude of development opportunities. It's of utmost importance for Mongolia to choose the right course, and the best option would be to be more active in the B&R, an initiative that fosters inclusive growth.

That said, a deviation from the right path and attempts to skirt round China in pursuit of alternative options would only end up with the country outsmarting itself. As for those who hold suspicions about China's true intent in the massive support and extensive benefits that it has offered to Mongolia, they should reflect upon their own motivations. And for Mongolians holding onto hope through the economic crisis, it should always be remembered that China has long been and will continue to be a growth stabilizer for their country.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: EYE ON THE ECONOMY

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