ULAN BATOR, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Having enjoyed a sound relationship for decades, China and Mongolia now have the opportunity to upgrade ties as Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to pay a state visit to Mongolia on Aug. 21-22.
The tour is the first visit of a Chinese head of state to Mongolia in 11 years, and also Xi's second solo overseas trip since he took office in March 2013.
During the visit, Xi and his Mongolian counterpart, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, will hold talks, sign and issue an important political document, and witness the signing of a series of cooperative agreements in politics, economy, finance, culture and other fields.
Xi will also meet other Mongolian leaders, deliver a speech at the State Great Hural, Mongolia's parliament, and attend economic and trade activities.
"We believe that this year will be an important one in the course of the development of bilateral relations," said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi when he met with Mongolian Foreign Minister Luvsanvandan Bold this month on the sidelines of the series of Foreign Ministers' meetings on East Asia cooperation in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
BILATERAL RELATIONS BEST IN HISTORY
Sharing boundaries stretching over 4,710 kilometers, the two countries established diplomatic ties as early as October 1949. But their bilateral relations experienced twists and turns in the 1960s, affected by the deteriorating China-Soviet Union relations.
However, since 1989, bilateral relations have been developing smoothly. The two countries decided to upgrade their bilateral ties from a good-neighbor partnership of mutual trust to a strategic partnership in 2011, and the two sides signed a document that outlines key areas of cooperation for the development of their strategic partnership in the medium and long term in 2013.
"The bilateral relations are currently at the best in history," said Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies.
Since taking office as Chinese president, Xi has met with Elbegdorj twice. One was ahead of the 13th meeting of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States in September 2013 in Kyrgyz capital Bishkek. The other was on the sidelines of the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Shanghai this May.
During their May meeting, Xi stressed that China conducts cooperation with Mongolia with the principles of mutual benefits and win-win results, never as "one wins and the other loses," nor "one wins more and the other gets less."
"President Xi attaches great importance to the relations of the two countries, which I am very pleased to see," said Elbegdorj in an interview with Chinese journalists just ahead of President Xi's state visit. "I expressed my thanks to him for his sincere and pragmatic perspective when dealing with Mongolia-China relationship."
Ulan Bator is discussing and implementing the proposal of the Silk Road economic belt, said the Mongolian president, urging the two countries to enhance cooperation in railway, pipeline, and highway construction.
During a meeting with Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, in Ulan Bator in June 2014, the Mongolian president said the two countries' bilateral relations "stand in the best period in history," adding that the concept of "amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness" proposed by the Chinese leaders has created favorable conditions for promoting the bilateral relations and regional cooperation.
NEW PROSPECTS OF BILATERAL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
Diplomats and observers have said that the current development of China-Mongolia relations is blessed with opportune timing, favorable conditions and popular support.
By "opportune timing," they mean that this year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Mongolia and the 20th anniversary of the amendment to the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between China and Mongolia.
"Favorable conditions" means that the two sides are highly complementary in economic development, and are natural cooperative partners which could achieve mutual benefits, common development and prosperity.
"Popular support" means that the two countries have maintained a good-neighborly friendship. China has always placed developing relations with Mongolia in an important position in its neighborhood diplomacy, and Mongolia also regards developing relations with China as a priority of its foreign policies.
Chinese Ambassador to Mongolia Wang Xiaolong said he hopes that both sides can take advantage of the favorable conditions and firmly seize the valuable opportunity for the development of the China-Mongolia relations, so as to jointly open up the new prospects of the China-Mongolia strategic partnership.
China has been Mongolia's largest trading partner and a major investor for more than a decade.
Two-way trade between China and Mongolia stood at only 324 million U.S. Dollars in 2002, but the figure had climbed to nearly 6 billion dollars in 2013, accounting for more than half of Mongolia's total foreign trade.
"Mongolia is a landlocked country with sparse population, vast territory and abundant resources, while China is the world's second largest economy and is in the process of industrialization and urbanization," said the ambassador.
The two countries are highly complementary in economic structure and enjoy a huge potential for economic and trade cooperation," he added.
In people-to-people and cultural exchanges, China and Mongolia have been engaged in deep cooperation in education, culture and sports.
Every year there are some 8,000 Mongolian students studying in China. Beijing has dispatched more than 180 volunteers to Mongolia to teach the Chinese language, which draw an increasing number of local youth.
"The more the exchanges, the deeper the mutual understanding, and the friendlier the feelings between the two peoples," Wang said. "There are a growing number of people who value relations with China. That has become a mainstream opinion in Mongolia."
"China and Mongolia will continue to expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges in both scale and scope," he added.
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