(LEAD) S. Korea, Mongolia agree to seek closer ties on rare earth supply
(ATTN: UPDATES with President Yoon’s letter at paragraphs 12-13)
ULAANBAATAR, Aug. 29 (Yonhap) — South Korea and Mongolia agreed on Monday to strengthen cooperation on global supply chains, including rare earths, during talks between their senior diplomats. .
The two sides plan to push for the establishment of a joint rare earth metal partnership center as part of efforts to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of economic security and strengthen partnerships based on shared values, including democracy and human rights.
Seoul’s Foreign Minister Park Jin stressed that natural-resource-rich Mongolia is a “core partner country” to contribute to the resilience of supply chains.
“(We) will actively push for cooperative measures (with each other) to take advantage of the combination of South Korean infrastructure and those minerals and resources, abundant in Mongolia, such as rare earths for semi -conductors and high-tech displays, and rare metals for batteries,” he said during a joint press conference with his counterpart Batmunkh Battsetseg, following their meeting in Ulaanbaatar.
Battsetseg also said he had discussions with Park on ways to create synergies between Mongolia’s natural resources and South Korea’s advanced technologies.
To this end, the two sides will seek to quickly launch an institute on strengthening cooperation on rare earth metals with the idea that Mongolia offers land and South Korea uses its official development assistance funds. .
The move comes amid growing fears that China is militarizing its natural resources.
During the talks, Park briefed her on the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s political approach to North Korea, and Battsetseg expressed support for her denuclearization bid.
“Mongolia is a country that shares universal values such as democracy and human rights, and the two nations will work together to promote regional freedom, peace and prosperity,” Park said.
The two nations have also initialed a bilateral agreement on cooperation in response to climate change, with South Korea agreeing to proactively contribute to Mongolia’s reforestation projects, according to Park.
Park paid a courtesy visit to Mongolian President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa and handed over President Yoon’s handwritten letter which expresses wishes for the development of bilateral relations, according to his office.
“I traveled to Mongolia to personally witness our leader’s firm commitment to further develop the strategic partnership between South Korea and Mongolia, and to discuss detailed measures to develop bilateral relations,” Park said while handing the letter.
The missive describes the two countries as close brotherly nations, democratic strategic partners and important partners for the stability of the supply chain.
Park became the first South Korean foreign minister to pay an official visit to Mongolia since 2014. He is due to return home on Tuesday after a three-day trip to the country.