For the first time, a French president in office will tread the soil of Mongolia. Emmanuel Macron is indeed going to this landlocked country between China and Russia this Sunday for a brief but symbolic visit.
The Head of State must stop in Ulaanbaatar, after taking part in the G7 summit in Japan. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022, France has multiplied its efforts to speak to countries that have not clearly condemned the war led by Moscow. The visit to Mongolia falls within this context.
Visit to the Genghis Khan Museum
Paris also aims with this visit to strengthen bilateral ties in terms of ecological transition, agriculture, agri-food and civil security. In Ulaanbaatar, where he will only spend the evening, Emmanuel Macron must meet and then have dinner with President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh.
He must also visit the Genghis Khan Museum, named after the great Mongol conqueror of the 13th century. The institution will lend part of its collection to the Nantes History Museum, for an exhibition scheduled for October. Emmanuel Macron will also have an interview with Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene. He will leave for Paris at the end of the evening.
A “very important” geostrategic issue
Mongolia “has a model of government which is liberal, which holds elections, which has known alternations, and which also seeks to diversify its partnerships to be more robust and to be able to deal under better conditions with its large Russian and Chinese neighbors. “, we explain in the entourage of the French president. The Elysée Palace also evokes a “very important issue” on the “geostrategic level”, which is part of Paris’ desire to “loosen the constraint exerted on Russia’s neighbors and open up to them the choice of their options. “.
Mongolia is also part of the “strategy of diversification of European supplies in order to guarantee our energy sovereignty”, indicates the Elysée. Thus, the French nuclear group Orano is working in particular on a uranium mine project on Mongolian territory – potentially one of the largest in the world.
Washington’s Growing Interest
According to the Elysée, the other challenge will be to encourage foreign investment in the fight against global warming, to which the semi-desert country is particularly vulnerable. On the bilateral level, Paris believes that there are “very significant possibilities for cooperation” since this Asian country, “90% dependent on coal for its electricity”, has a “problem” of “decarbonizing its economy”.
Moreover, Ulaanbaatar has already been the subject of growing interest for several years on the part of the United States, as part of their strategy aimed at countering the rise of Beijing. Currently, 86% of Mongolia’s total exports, all goods combined, go to China. Half of these Chinese purchases are coal.