Mongolia celebrates 60 years in the United Nations – The Diplomat
On October 25, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia launched “United Nations Week” to mark the 60th anniversary of Mongolia’s membership in the United Nations. Mongolia’s history at the United Nations also serves as a showcase for the country’s foreign policy, geopolitical challenges, as well as perseverance.
It has taken Mongolia 15 years since it first applied for UN membership. Mongolia’s repeated attempts to join the UN have been challenged at every stage, as superpower competition and geopolitical dynamics have hampered these foreign policy goals. The Americans, Russians and Chinese were all opposed to Mongolia’s UN membership under different political circumstances and timelines.
Mongolia first tried to join the UN in 1946, just after World War II. The Mongols of the time believed that the change in the world order was perhaps a chance to expand the country’s connections to the outside world.
On June 24, 1946, the Prime Minister of the Mongolian People’s Republic (MPR), Choibalsan Khorloo, applied for membership in the UN. Given the post-war mentality, the five permanent members – the Soviet Union, China, the United States, the United Kingdom and France – were busy with their own agendas, which did not directly concern the Mongolia. In July 1946, the American representative to the United Nations, Herschel Johnson, supported the entry of a bloc of states – including Mongolia, as well as Afghanistan, Albania, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden – to the United Nations. However, AA Gromyko, the Soviet representative to the UN, opposed the idea of admitting all these countries at once; he rejected the proposal, preferring to examine each potential member country separately. Unfortunately, Mongolia’s membership in the UN fell victim to this decision.
The 1950s and 1960s were no better. The Cold War between the United States and the USSR ultimately divided other global and regional players into allies and enemies, communists and capitalists. This global instability did not help Mongolia join the UN, as the Soviet Union still had enormous influence in Mongolia. After several failed trips to New York, then Prime Minister Marshall Tsedenbal Yumjaa noted frustrated during a speech given on December 7, 1961: “For many years, the aspirations of the Mongolian people have been ignored. Because the United States has employed discriminatory policies against the Mongolian People’s Republic and Chiang Kai-shek and his group, which has long since lost its reputation in the eyes of the world and the support of its people forever, the desire of the Republic Mongolian people to become a member of the UN lasts for 14 years. It’s still not done. »
Indeed, Mongolia’s admission had become linked to the conflict between Chiang’s Republic of China (ROC) government in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, which took control of mainland China in 1949. Chiang s always clung to the fiction of representing all of China – which in his mind also included Mongolia, despite his government being forced to recognize Mongolian independence amid the Chinese Civil War. The government of the Republic of China has therefore vigorously opposed Mongolia’s entry into the United Nations.
In the summer of 1961 and again in the fall, U.S. President John F. Kennedy told Chiang that the United States would no longer prevent Mongolia from joining the UN. The United States was aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of Mongolia’s membership in the UN. A The disadvantages had nothing to do with Mongolia per se, but involved geopolitical issues related to Russia and China.
A declassified JFK-era memo claimed that “UN membership could provide Outer Mongolia with defenses against further encroachment by the USSR or Peiping [Beijing] in this domain. Outer Mongolia will be less isolated and the world organization will be attentive to developments in this country. It would be a generally popular action for the United States to take at the United Nations. Without considering these known advantages, on February 1, 1961, the Kennedy White House came to the opposite conclusion: “Weighing the foregoing considerations; it seems that, on the whole, our national interest would be better served by continuing our opposition to the admission of Outer Mongolia to the United Nations.
However, these barriers did not prevent Mongolia from maintaining diplomatic relations with other nations of the world. The fact that Mongolia establishes bilateral relations with other countries, including Western countries, reflects positively on Mongolia’s independence and its foreign policy as a whole. As CR Bawden, a well-known scholar of Mongolian studies, has written, “Since joining the United Nations in 1961, after a hard campaign, Mongolia has further cemented its global status by exchanging diplomatic recognition with a number of countries western countries – first in 1963, with the United Kingdom.”
On October 27, 1961, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 166, admitting Mongolia to the UN with nine votes in favor and one abstention – the United States (the ROC, which still held China’s seat in the UNSC at the time, did not participate in the vote). On this date, 60 years ago, the Mongolian delegation – led by the First Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the MPR, D. Tsevegmid, the ambassadors B. Jargalsaikhan and B. Dashtseren, and the diplomats O. Damdindorj, B. Orsoo and B Vanchin – witness to a turning point in the history of Mongolia.
Fifteen years after its first candidacy and thanks to the considerable efforts made by Tsedenbal and many others before it, Mongolia was now a full member of the United Nations.
Since joining the UN, Mongolia has ratified United Nations treaties and conventions and has been an active member of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the Middle East and North Africa. Mongolia has also participated in UNESCO, the United Nations Human Rights Council and other important initiatives. In 2019, the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission recognized Contribution of Mongolia to Western Sahara, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia. and South Sudan.
According to the Mongolian mission to the UN, “Mongolia initiated more than 70 resolutions at the General Assembly, 10 of which have been adopted in the past five years. These include resolutions on the “United Nations Literacy Decade”, “Support by the United Nations system to the efforts of governments to promote and consolidate new and restored democracies”, “Improvement of the situation of women in rural areas” and “Cooperatives in social development. “Furthermore, Mongolia’s Non-Nuclear Weapon State (ENDAN) status positions Mongolia as an important mediating actor under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in East Asia.
The Mongolian Foreign Ministry’s United Nations Week included a photo exhibition. Also as part of the event, for the first time in UN history, children representing 21 aimags and Ulaanbaatar wrote the Charter of the United Nations in traditional Mongolian script, mongolian bichig. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also organized a scientific conference entitled “60 years of cooperation between Mongolia and the UN and what lies ahead”. Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh and UN Resident Coordinator Tapan Mishra made remarks to open the conference.
In a congratulatory message, Battsetseg declared:
Over the past 60 years, Mongolia has fully grasped this opportunity, strictly adhered to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and contributed to strengthening international peace and security, promoting social and economic development, and ensuring human rights, which are the three pillars of the activities of the United Nations. Today, Mongolia has established diplomatic relations with 193 countries around the world, has become a member of more than 80 international and intergovernmental organizations, and has joined more than 290 international treaties.
As Mongolia continues to be an integral part of the Asia-Pacific, its relationship with the United Nations will only strengthen and expand. In the years to come, the United Nations and its agencies will play an important role in Mongolia’s implementation of its Vision 2050, a long-term development plan that aims to address issues of governance, human rights man, education and becoming a digital nation such as Estonia, Denmark, Israel and Canada.