Japan urges Mongolia to join international pressure on Russia over Ukraine

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Sunday indirectly urged his Mongolian counterpart Batmunkh Battsetseg to join international pressure on Russia in response to its aggression in Ukraine.

During a meeting in Ulaanbaatar, Hayashi told Battsetseg that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine violates international law and undermines the foundations of the international order also in Asia, and therefore global solidarity is strongly required, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi (L) and Mongolian Foreign Minister Batmunkh Battsetseg hold talks in Ulaanbaatar on May 1, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Japanese Foreign Ministry) (Kyodo )

Battsetseg “gave explanations based on Mongolia’s position”, the ministry said, apparently reflecting Ulaanbaatar’s reluctance to align itself with Western countries that have imposed harsh economic sanctions on Russia.

In addition to conveying this position, it is unclear how she responded to Hayashi’s request, other than saying that it is important to immediately bring about a ceasefire and ease the tense situation in Ukraine, according to a Japanese government official.

Mongolia, a landlocked East Asian country sandwiched between China and Russia, has long been highly dependent on the two great powers for energy supplies, trade and even electricity, especially in the part West, according to the Japanese ministry.

In early March, Mongolia abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, which ended up being passed with the approval of 141 of the 193 members of the United Nations.

After their first face-to-face meeting as foreign ministers, Hayashi and Battsetseg signed an agreement for 260 million yen ($2 million) in Japanese aid to host young Mongolian government officials at graduate schools in Japan. .

Since Mongolia has close ties with North Korea, the ministers agreed to continue their cooperation in dealing with Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear development, as well as the issue of its abductions of Japanese nationals in the years 1970 and 1980.

Later on Sunday, Hayashi visited the Shine Mongol Harumafuji School, founded in 2018 with the support of Harumafuji, a Mongolian-born former sumo wrestler who rose to the highest rank in the sport of yokozuna.

The Japanese Foreign Minister also held talks with Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene.

Hayashi has been on a five-day trip since last Thursday, during which he also visited Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

On Monday, Hayashi will meet Mongolian President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh before leaving for Japan.