Japan FM urges Mongolian counterpart to join Russia pressure

Japan FM urges Mongolian counterpart to join Russia pressure

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Sunday indirectly urged his Mongolian counterpart Batmunkh Battsetseg to join the international pressure campaign against Russia in response to Moscow's aggression in Ukraine.

In a meeting in Ulaanbaatar, Hayashi told Battsetseg that Moscow's invasion of Ukraine is in violation of international law and shakes the foundation of international order, including in Asia, and that global solidarity is strongly required, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Battsetseg gave explanations based on Mongolia's positions, the ministry said, indicating Ulaanbaatar's reluctance to align with nations that have imposed severe economic sanctions on Russia.

Mongolia, a landlocked country in East Asia, between China and Russia, has long been heavily dependent on the two big powers in terms of energy supplies, trade and even electricity, especially in the western part of the country, according to the Japanese Foreign 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 adopted by 141 out of the 193 members of the United Nations.

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

The ministers agreed to maintain their cooperation in dealing with Pyongyang's missile and nuclear development, as well as the issue of its abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970 s and 1980s, given that Mongolia has close ties with North Korea.

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

Hayashi is on a five-day trip that began Thursday, during which he visited Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

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