Korea’s top envoy latest to visit Mongolia
Korea will expand cooperation with Mongolia on rare earths and other minerals for semiconductors and batteries, Foreign Minister Park Jin said.
“Mongolia, the 10th largest resource-rich country in the world, is a key partner country that can contribute to the stability of Korea’s supply chain,” Park said during a joint press briefing with the Mongolian Foreign Minister Batmunkh Battsetseg in the capital Ulaanbaatar on Monday.
“Mongolia’s abundant minerals and resources, such as rare earths for advanced semiconductors and displays and rare metals for batteries, can be combined with Korea’s infrastructure and technology to create a synergistic effect” , he added.
The two foreign ministers also announced their decision to build a rare metals center in Mongolia with Korean funding, with plans to start construction as early as next year.
Park’s trip to Mongolia, scheduled until Tuesday, is the first by a Korean foreign minister since 2014.
Since April, the foreign ministers of Russia, China, the United States and Japan have visited the country at least once, drawing the world’s attention to the role that this resource-rich country can play in global supply chains.
At Monday’s press conference, Battsetseg welcomed Park’s visit, adding that she proposed a trilateral meeting between Mongolia, Korea and the United States in the near future, an idea she said welcomes Park.
The pair signed a draft climate change agreement between the two countries, outlining plans to work together on reforestation of Mongolia and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fine dust pollution and yellow.
Park met with Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh on Monday afternoon, delivering him a letter from President Yoon Suk-yeol. The letter reportedly focused on their strategic partnership on democratic values and supply chain continuity.
The last Mongolian-Korean presidential summit was held in September 2021.
“This visit is essential for the development of relations with Mongolia, which shares the values of democracy and human rights with Korea,” a foreign ministry official told JoongAng Ilbo on Sunday. “Mongolia is a country that traditionally has good relations with the two Koreas, so it’s very important to get Mongolia’s support on Korean Peninsula issues.”
Park and Khurelsukh were due to continue their conversation over dinner at Gorkhi-Terelj National Park on Monday and meet again on Tuesday morning.
The foreign minister began his visit to Mongolia on Sunday with a visit to a memorial park in the city dedicated to Korean independence fighter Lee Tae-jun, who moved to Mongolia in 1914 and opened a hospital to treat infectious diseases.
He also met with researchers and think tank officials in Ulaanbaatar on Sunday to explain in detail the Yoon government’s so-called “bold move” to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.
BY KANG TAE-HWA, ESTHER CHUNG [[email protected]]