Has Mongolia given up on winning a seat on the UN Security Council? – The Diplomat
The annual United Nations General Assembly is a big stage for foreign policy announcements, as well as an opportunity for world leaders to meet on the sidelines. This opportunity was particularly significant for Mongolian President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, as he was only elected in June. Khurelsukh took this opportunity for an in-person visit and toured New York to meet with his counterparts and UN officials.
His Speech of September 22 in the General Assembly reviewed Mongolia’s relations with the United Nations. However, he did not mention Mongolia’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in next year’s elections, suggesting that Mongolia is not actively pursuing the elections and instead cedes the seat to Japan.
Khurelsukh’s speech was much more ambitious than that of President Battulga Khaltmaa speech last year to explain the country’s views on major global issues, including development, ecosystem degradation, climate change and nuclear weapons. Khurelsukh’s speech also highlighted Mongolia’s support for the work of the United Nations in various fields, including its contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Significantly, however, the speech makes no explicit reference to running for the Security Council, leading us to speculate that Mongolia is considering withdrawing before the elections or not actively pursuing the elections.
Because of the influence and privileges associated with this position, the five permanent members of the Security Council attract the most attention. Yet the Security Council comprises 10 non-permanent (or elected) seats, and competition for the opportunity for a two-year term on the Council is intense among UN member states. In appointing representatives to non-permanent seats, the Charter of the United Nations requires member states to give particular consideration to contributing “to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization…” (article 23, 1). Winning a non-permanent seat on the Security Council requires two-thirds of the votes of current member states.
In the context of intensifying competition for non-permanent seats, the tendency is to announce a candidate early, up to a decade before the election. Several years before the elections, states actively campaign by promoting their past contributions to the UN and their current priorities for gaining electoral support. Small states face disadvantages in this endeavor, such as a more limited campaign budget, a smaller diplomatic corps, and fewer national representations and permanent missions. Yet being a first-time candidate and/or being a small state can also be beneficial in the context of a view that all states should have the opportunity to sit on the Security Council. Currently, one-third of UN member states have yet to serve.
In his address to the General Assembly, Khurelsukh listed Mongolia’s interactions with the United Nations, from joining in 1961 to the announcement of Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status in 2000, the beginning of participation in peacekeeping activities in 2002, and the creation of the International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries in 2009. Mongolia’s participation in peacekeeping activities has steadily grown and Mongolia will host an international conference on the participation of female peacekeepers in United Nations operations in 2022.
This story and Khurelsukh’s emphasis on deepening ties would have been the perfect setting to reaffirm the announcement 2014 by President Elbegdorj Tsakhia that Mongolia would stand for election to the Security Council in 2022 and enter an active campaign phase. But alas, Khurelsukh made no such announcement.
Given the proximity of Security Council elections, the absence of mention of Mongolia’s candidacy amounts to a withdrawal from the election and the ceding of the Security Council seat reserved for Asian States to Japan, which does not had that declared his candidacy at the 74th General Assembly in 2019.
Why did Mongolia withdraw from its candidacy?
The most obvious factors are the close ties between Mongolia and Japan and Japan’s long quest to become a permanent member of the Security Council. While the Security Council reform movement appears to have stalled in recent years, it remains a priority for Japan and it is perhaps unsurprising that Japan is unwilling to engage in a competitive election campaign. for the non-permanent seat.
Japan is an important economic ally of Mongolia, of course, with significant investments, an economic partnership agreement in place and important cultural ties. In Mongolia’s quest to cultivate “third neighbours” (beyond China and Russia), Japan has been an important supporter of Mongolia’s role as a democracy amid an authoritarian sea.
But there are also domestic factors at play. Khurelsukh seems keen to erase the foreign policy legacy of his militant predecessor Elbegdorj. This may well have played a role in the complete silence on developments in Afghanistan despite a history or prior engagement. As Khurelsukh embraces the international stage with his visit to the UN in a way Battulga never has, the prospect of annoying Japan might have persuaded him not to give in to the lure of some notoriety. international.
As president, Khurelsukh faces the prospect of a difficult position where the United States and China are increasingly trying to build blocs to confront each other. Given Mongolia’s almost total economic dependence on China, a Sino-American conflict puts the country in a very delicate position given its clear preference for democracy. Japan is an important ally in this context and will be happy to be assured of a seat on the Security Council in next year’s elections.