|Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with his Mongolian counterpart Sukhbaataryn Batbold at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, June 16, 2011. (Xinhua/Liu Jiansheng)
BEIJING, June 16 (Xinhua) -- China and Mongolia on Thursday agreed to upgrade bilateral ties to a strategic partnership level and bolster economic cooperation.
"It's a milestone to establish such a partnership," Premier Wen Jiabao told his Mongolian counterpart Sukhbaatar Batbold during a 75-minute talk following a red-carpet welcoming ceremony.
Wen and Batbold inked a joint statement on the partnership and witnessed the signing of another eight judicial and economic agreements after their talks at the Great Hall of the People.
"Our decision to upgrade bilateral ties to strategic partnership indicates our firm will to enhance friendship from generation to generation and to achieve common development," Wen said.
Batbold, who is on his first official visit to China since taking office in 2009, said such a move conforms with the common interests of the two states.
Mongolia, thanks to its booming mining industry and rich resources of coal, iron and copper, is expected to realize two-digit economic growth this year and is attracting Chinese investors.
China has the most direct investment and companies in Mongolia out of any foreign countries, Batbold said in an interview with Xinhua on the eve of the three-day visit.
"China will, within its capability, help Mongolia to develop its national industry, secure energy supply, protect the environment and to improve people's living standards," Wen said.
He said China will, along with efforts from Mongolia, promote high-level exchanges, further strategic mutual trust and enhance coordination and cooperation in regional organizations and mechanisms.
He called on the two sides to support each other on major issues concerning their core interests such as sovereignty and territory, to jointly fight against the "three evil forces" of separatism, extremism and terrorism as well as cross-border crime.
The two sides should also expand exchanges in such sectors as education, tourism, youth and media to promote bilateral relations, Wen said.
Batbold said he welcomed Chinese investors and appreciated China's assistance to his country's economic and social development.
Mongolia will stick to the one-China policy and consolidate cooperation with China in trade, mining, transportation, finance, husbandry, energy, environment protection, high-tech and humanitarian fields, he said.