Celebrating Mongolia’s National Day on Straits Times
This week holds great significance for Mongolia. Starting today, Mongolia will be celebrating the annual Naadam Festival over three days of national holiday. The festival has its roots in the nomad wedding assemblies and hunting extravaganzas of the Mongol army. Now, it formally commemorates the 1921 Revolution when Mongolia declared itself independent of China.
The opening ceremony features elaborate parades of soldiers, dancers, musicians and athletes before the three sporting passions of Mongolians – horse racing, wrestling and archery – are played over two days.
Coinciding with the Naadam Festival this year and perhaps even more significant, Mongolia is hosting the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in its capital Ulaanbaatar, in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Asia-Europe Meeting dialogue.
Over 50 Heads of State and Government will be attending the event, held from 15 to 16 July, including Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Prior to the ASEM Summit, there are number of sideline events including the 15th Asia Europe Business Forum, Senior Officials’ Meeting, 8th ASEF Editor’s Roundtable, 7th Model ASEM as well as 11th Asia-Europe People’s Forum etc taking place in Ulaanbaatar city, Mongolia.
Prime Minister Lee will be making his official visit to Mongolia on 14 July. Also, Singaporean business leaders will be there to explore business opportunities in Mongolia coinciding with Mr Lee’s visit.
Says Mr Tumur Lkhagvadorj, Ambassador of Mongolia to Singapore: “The success of the ASEM Summit would have a great impact on our economy by strengthening Mongolia’s international credibility, while attracting investors’ interest and inflow of tourists to Mongolia.”
Friendship between Mongolia and Singapore
Singapore and Mongolia established diplomatic relations on 11 June 1970 and have continuously strengthened bilateral relations and cooperation in the course of 46 years.
Mr Tumur highlights: “When Mongolia stepped onto the path of building a democratic and market-oriented social system in the earlier 1990s, Singapore was one of the few destinations chosen by inexperienced but ambitious Mongolian businessmen as the first step of the ladder for their business endeavours.
“Singapore has been gracious in their pursuits to build successful businesses which have been contributing to the economic and social development of our country.”
The two governments entered into an agreement on the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments in 1995, and an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation in 2002 to pave the foundation for strong business connections.
“As a result, the trade turnover between our two countries has been steadily increasing in the past decade and by 2014, Singapore became one of the largest investors in Mongolia” he says.
Economic cooperation exists between the two countries in areas such as tourism, logistics, education, food processing and manufacturing. Temasek has invested in copper and gold mining projects in Mongolia.
Recent progress in political and bilateral ties between the two nations include the State visit of the President of Mongolia to Singapore in 2013, followed by the launch of a direct flight route between Singapore and Mongolia in 2014.
Mr Tumur highlights that there has been an ever-growing surge in the exchange of visitors in the two countries for both business and leisure purposes. To date, an average of over 1,000 Singaporeans travel to Mongolia and 4,000 Mongolians to Singapore annually.
Mongolians can travel to Singapore without visa for 30 days and Singaporeans get to travel to Mongolia for up to 14 days visa-free. He notes that both governments are working together on extending the visa waiver for Singaporeans, with the decision expected to be made in the near future.
“As an ambassador working here, I personally feel the friendship exuded by Singaporeans, and I am genuinely honoured to serve as the third Mongolian Ambassador to Singapore,” he says.
Mr Tumur affirms that Mongolia has much to offer Singaporeans.
“Mongolia is full of opportunities which we are ready to explore with our partners. We have a land of 1.5 million square kilometres rich with mineral resources and natural treasures.
“We also have a population of 3 million people of which almost 65 per cent are young people under the age of 30 – energetic, enthusiastic and ambitious young people who are ready to learn to be better citizens of the country and of the global community.”
For full supplement, please click the following link: Mongolia-ST-11.07.2016