Dr. Aftab Ahmad Khan & Suraya Basu.: BRIEF SURVEY OF SINO-MONGOLIAN RELATIONSPerceptibly three phrases are historically vital in elaborating the urge for ascendency in the Sino-Mongolian contacts. The impulse played a significant role in shaping the traditional mindset particularly of Mongols. The Mongols once established an empire comprising the largest territories presently under the territorial occupation of Russia and China. Mongol Empire collapsed at the end of 14th Century and the Ming Dynasty of China attacked Mongolia several times until it converted it into a vassal State in 1691 .
From 1691 to 1911, i.e. Chinese suzerainty over Mongolia was mainly a forced colonization particularly over Outer Mongolia (now called Mongolia and Inner Mongolia and continues to be a part of China) China’s imperial methodologies in Mongolia intensified Mongol resistance against Chinese imperial yoke. However, the most pernicious effect of Chinese sway in Mongolia was that it exhibited great ability for Han expansionism. A large influx of Chinese merchants and landless peasants was sponsored into Mongolia and Han’s succeeded in nurturing a fracture in the demographic structure of the area for durable trouble-free stay. The tendency day by day instigated local habitants to organise themselves potently against the foreign domination. Resentment ultimately manifested in a vibrant anti¬-China movement under All Mongolian National Liberation Movement. The resistance in fact was greatly influenced by the triumph of Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. All Mongolian National Liberation Movement finally attained independence from Chinese yoke and formed World’s First State of Workers and Peasants in Mongolia in 1911. The over throw of Chinese rule proved temporary because Chinese military regained its control over Mongolia in 1915. However, with the potent help of Lenin and Russian Red Army Chinese rule was again over thrown and Mongolian People’s Republic was founded in 1924.
SINO-MONGOLIAN RELATIONS AND SOVIET TRIUMPH
The Treaty of Friendship and Alliance concluded between China and USSR in 1945 accorded the independence of Mongolia. China formally recognized the Mongolian People’s Republic in 1945 as a separate sovereign State and in 1950 Ulaanbaatar established ambassadorial ties with Beijing. The wedlock was intensified on realistic calculations and mutual concurrences. China abundantly offered Labour Loans and Technical Expertise for the construction of projects that Mongolia required. Trade between the two states flourished and the geographical proximity facilitated greater intensification and multiplicity. From 1950 to 1964, the two extended contacts on numerous fields with an inclination to help promote each other. Nonetheless, the ideological variance between China and USSR during ‘Cultural Revolution considerably caused a rupture in Sino- Mongolian wedlock.
A rim State situated between two colossal giants had no other choice but to enter into the protective umbrella and Mongolia opted for USSR in pursuance of its traditional mindset and national interest to liberate itself from Chinese phobia. It promptly exported Soviet model of Socialism and the Principles of Proletarian Dictatorship, Ideology of class struggle together with Non- Capitalist Development of Mongol society was enshrined in the New Constitution of Mongolia… Under Soviet obstinate encouragement Mongolia expelled all Chinese professionals and labours on the pretexts of espionage and other crimes. The intension was to enhance surveillance over Chinese migrants and to rectify the demographic configuration of Mongolia which Chinese damaged since long. The upshots sever diplomatic and commercial links with China. China responded with a proclamation that Mongolia, a ‘Soviet satellite’ and consequently for next twenty years Mongolia-China relations remained hostile. The rupture inevitably resulted in a greater dependence of Mongolia on the USSR during twentieth century and Sino-Mongolian relations mainly remained of secondary or Soviet replicate. All in all the deployment of Soviet troops in Mongolian territory was a focal point of antagonism between China, Mongolia, China and Soviet Union.
Since 1987 i.e. much earlier to Perestroika Beijing unremittingly necessitated Moscow to demilitarize Mongolia and embark upon a mutual dialogue for normalization. In 1985 President Gorbachev’s initiative to withdraw Soviet troops from Mongolia recovered relations between the two. The act exceptionally stimulated Mongolia to establish relations with European nations and in 1987 diplomatic relations with U.S established . The steps in fact, ward off the seal on Mongolia as being the Soviet replica. The resumption of relations with US help promote Mongolia to convey its independent character to the international community and proliferated with a great zeal an autonomous character in between China and USSR after a long replication . Again, with the Signing of Consular Treaty with China encouraged free flow of Scholarly Delegations, Trade Union Leaders and Members of Friendship Communities who visited each others country after a long freeze.. This characterized the beginning of high level interaction and mutual exchange that stabilized the relation between the two. Tiananmen occurrence in 1989 amazingly could not impinge upon Chinese-Mongolia relations. In fact, interactions underwent dramatic transformations from adversary to partnership since 1990.
CHINESE PROPINQUITY AND MONGOLIA
In the late 1980’s Mongolia could not escape from democratization wave. The disintegration of USSR paved the way and Mongolia switched over to Democratic Governance and Free Market Economy. The Chinese leadership hailed Mongolia’s democratic reforms. Throughout the 1990s, Beijing made constant efforts to develop relations with Mongolia. The decade brought unprecedented growth in bilateral trade and relations conceded new stages of cooperation and development. Remarkable collaboration and proximity was witnessed in various fields as contacts grow and prosper in political, economic and other areas. High Level visits and extensive exchange on bilateral as well as on international issues day by day disseminated close proximity. Gradually China raised its profile in Mongolia in the past sixteen years. Currently China’s post-Cold War policy toward Mongolia differs much that of the Mao’s era which openly had invalidated Mongolia’s sovereignty. In view of internal and external pressures of new economic regime in an era of globalization and consequential growth of information technology, China felt obligated to cancel the traditional policy postures towards Mongolia. President Yang Shangun visited Ulaanbaatar in August 1991 and expressed China’s profound respect for the "Independence and Sovereignty of Mongolia." This first visit of the Head of Peoples Republic on China to Mongolia was an important political event contributing future extension of Mongol –Chinese cooperation and friendship. During this period, a number of important agreements on transit through the territory of the Peoples Republic on China (PRC) were signed and the Accord was also reached on the Opening of New Border Passes through the frontiers of two the countries. On 22 October 1993 the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry of China accentuated that China hail and support Mongolia as a Nuclear-Weapon –Free- State and compliment its option for it.
More specifically Chinese Premier Li Peng’s 1994 visit to Mongolia outlined China’s five point policy options towards Mongolia which are as under;
I. Adherence to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence;
II. Respect for Mongolia’s Independence, Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity, And Choice for Development;
III. Development of Trade and Economic Cooperation on the basis of Equality and Mutual Benefit;
IV. Support for Mongolia’s Nuclear-Weapon-Free Status;
V. Compliance to Mongolian efforts to develop Relations with other Countries of the World.
The superficial glance at these principles signals substantive import and signifies a major shift in the Chinese policy preferences in the area. China seems to operate on a strategy of non-application of threats or of violent expression of physical force against Mongolia; it now prefers to adhere fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to all bi-lateral issues on equal footings with its neighbours. The guiding mantra seems to be the five principles of peaceful co- existence (Panchsheel). It was a whiff of fresh air indeed coming as it did in the midst of the murky going on in the domestic sphere. China intently expressed its compliment to Mongolia’s decisions to;
I. Comprehensive Ban on the stationing of foreign troops on Mongolian territory;
II. Restriction on the transit or movement of foreign troops through its terra firma.
III. Opposition to the creation or promotion of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
Prime Minister Jasrai paid an official visit to China in March 1996 and interacted with Li Peng on bi-lateral and international concerns and reassured Li of Mongolia’s commitment to the One China policy..
Again, the visit of Chinese President Jiang Zemin in July 1999 to Mongolia was an important event. The trip was the premier accomplishment of Beijing to the Independence and Sovereignty of Mongolia. It also demonstrated a determinate proficient neighbourly relation based on Peaceful Co- existence. The two governments signed agreements on Economic and Technical Cooperation and exchanged the letters assuring Chinese government’s free technical assistance. Today China’s share in Mongolian export and import increase steadily and earnestly boosts in through border trade arrangements. China is emerging as the largest trading partner and the biggest investor in Mongolian Republic since 1990. Proximity and corresponding economic ventures make the two countries natural partners for increased economic interaction on trade. China requires Mongolian resources like timber, minerals and animals products. At the same time, it offers farm produce, light manufacturers and capital goods that fit Mongolia’s level of development and spending power. Traditional items of Mongolian export to china consist mostly animal husbandry, copper concentrate raw material that almost account 80-90% of Mongolia’s total export. Cross border, trade with China is also prospering . According to Lincoln Kaye of Far Eastern Economic Review, “China enjoys advantages in Mongolia that no other potential supplier or inventor can match”.Today shipping costs from Chinese heartland are a fraction of any other partners and overseas trade through Rail Links from China’s Tianjin port are five times shorter in contrast to Russian Far Eastern ports. Owing to impending energy demand of China, neutral and stabilize Mongolia is imperative as it serves as a transit link plus a transportation corridor between resource rich Russian Siberia and resource deprived Coastal and Central China. Beijing’s policy option seems to strengthen its relationship with neighbouring countries and to create a peaceful external environment for its own development; it is only possible when it could build a positive image of being a responsible power adhering to international norms in the present political scenario both at domestic and international level. This approach would definitely signal a trust and help in fostering lasting and current Sino-Mongolian wedlock.
CHINA MONGOLIA: JOINT UNDERTAKINGS
Mongolia’s foreign policy continues to be determined by its delicate geopolitical position. The Mongolian multi-pillar open door foreign policy provides a great opportunity to all nations of the world to develop comprehensive cooperation based on mutual existence. During the past several years, Mongolian strategy towards China focused remarkable aspiration of setting up a legal basis to her relations with China . In this back ground Mongolia attempted to settle the entire border issue with China. Its President N. Bagabandi visited China in December 1991 and the operation of future bilateral interaction with all nations of the world in the years yet to come. The joint statement outlined the principles of long term, stable healthy and mutually trustful cooperation as fundamental for bilateral contacts in the next century.
Further, with a desire to meet the impending pressures from the challenges of the change in a modern era Mongolia’s wishes the substitute the USSR model of Preliterate Economic Dictatorship. It presupposes adherence to national and international plans that satisfies its large-scale domestic and other needs in the changed international scenario. It accumulates effective guidelines to determine future course of economic programme, as China despite being a Communist State has embarked upon a plan of market economy. It is encouraging huge foreign investors and joint multinational collaborations to counter challenges of the change from the market economy globalization and information technology. During the transition phase Mongolian trade patterns were not oriented towards free marketing in Europe, Central Asia or Japan. Prior to 1990, 80% of Mongolia’s trade was with the USSR and now China emerged as the second largest trading partner since 1999. With the growing trade ties with China, Mongolia is keen to be a part of groupings like Shingai Cooperation Organization . Mongolia is trying to seek full membership in the Shingai Cooperation Organization (SCO). During SCO meeting at St. Petersburg in June 2007, China’s Vice-premier Wu Yi specifically spoke on the great magnitude of extending increasing Cross Border Trade with Mongolia and in this direction first international Passenger Bus Service between Altay, China and Bulgan started since Nov. 1. 2007.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CONCERNS
The deep rooted distrust caused by historical experiences of Chinese expansion still persists among Mongols. In Sino- Mongolian relationship it is important to take into consideration the factors which are causes of concern. In fact, China is a huge country and her policies always had a profound impact on Mongolia than Mongolia’s policies on China. In fact, Mongolia’s geo- strategic thinking and outlook was secondary as China being a major actor and whose impact was compulsion as the relations were of major and minor power relationship. Since the normalisation of bilateral ties political issues and so called “Pan-Mongolism”, Dalai Lama, and Tibet’s political profile were the immediate concerns of Beijing. In the recent years China has also increasingly became apprehensive about Mongolia- US ties.
A. MONGOLIAN NATIONALISM
Pan Mongolism, a concept prominently popular since early twentieth century with strong historical connotations and based on common traditional culture, might adversely affect the relationship between Beijing and Ulaanbaatar despite the close congenial cooperation’s. Mongolian compliance to conventionality resumed quickly when Mongolia was making a political swivel during 1990’s. Mongolian Nationalist Movement championed the cause of integration and unity of the Mongol nation. Presently it vigorously operate in Inner Mongolia and Buryatiya under The Movement for National Unity and popularly known as “Negeden” and the Buryat Mongols Party. However, up to now none of those organisations has gained any significant political influence as it is beset with internal contradictions of revival of sacred cult of Chinghis Khan or to revive Lamaism or Shamanism. In 1993, the faction convened a “Global Mongolian Clansman Plenary Session” in Ulaanbaatar, which became the guiding hymn for the future doctrines of “Pan Mongolism”. Among Chinese anxiety already persists on the nature of Mongolia democracy which directly affects the anti-China movements in Inner Mongolian Autonomous region within China. China repeatedly condemned the so called splittists in Inner Mongolia for her efforts to affirm Mongol ethnicity of Pan Mongolism Sentiment. Again, the Chinese are against the spread of Pan-Mongolism because China has never permitted Mongolian nationalist to consolidate around its borders. This factor has constrained Chinese to expand economic aid to Mongolia and to strengthen Mongolia’s degree of economic dependence on China in the garb of bilateral relations. Beijing under the hassle for Combating International Terrorism i.e. after 9\11 entertained the long term political strategies. It in fact found a way to oppose political resistances at Inner Mongolia, Xinxiang, Tibet and started suppression of the Doctrine of National Minority Movements. China was now focussing more on Regional Security Cooperation and expansion of bi-literalism.
B, DALAI LAMA AND TIBET
One of the issues creating under currents between the two was the Tibetan issue. On the eve of normalization of Sino-Mongolian relations in the second part of 1980 Dalai Lama became one of the contending issues in bilateral ties between China and Mongolia. His repeated visits to Mongolia considerably seized influences for the political liberalization of Tibet in the 1990. The event precipitated Chinese anxiety and Rail Services between the two countries were disrupted for two days as Beijing’s conveyed a reminder of its ability to control Mongolia’s main trade route In order to reaffirm the Mongolian official stand every agreement signed by the two parties has started with Mongolian affirmation of China’s jurisdiction over Taiwan . Many Mongolian officials have repeatedly acknowledged that Taiwan is part of China. Beijing also presses Ulaanbaatar for collective views on Global and Regional issues in order to limit growing United States presence with increasing involvements in Mongolia. President Bush became the first sitting US President to appear publicly with the Dalai Lama in a lavish American ceremony honouring the spiritual leader of Tibet. President Bush urged China to open talks with the Dalai Lama, a move that has alarmed China with far reaching consequences.
AMERICA’S IMPACT ON SINO- MONGOLIAN RELATIONS
During the Cold War, era US was ideological adversary to Mongolia. But today in pursuance of its strategies in the countries within Asian peripheries and of global interests, it is almost becoming the future hope of Mongols. For the first time in Mongolian history, its president visited US in 1991. Given a decade and a half of progress towards democracy, free market economy and active regional and international role Mongolia sought exceptional recognition reflecting outstanding US interest in Mongolia. United States after a long freeze in the vicinity of China has made an important ally in Northern Asia. Economically the United States is now becoming Mongolia’s third largest trading partner after China and Russia. .President Bush and Defence Secretary Rumsfeld visited Mongolia in November and October 2005 respectively which indicates the US devotion to expand its political and economic activities in the remote corners of the globe for its zeal to retain its superiority. Mongolia actively supported and expressed a desire to actively participate in American master minded sponsored Anti-Terrorism Coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan. After World Trade Centre (WTC) event in September 2002 both China and Mongolia assumed vital strategic status for USA in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia. The United States granted most- favoured nation status to Mongolia and US Congress passed a special resolution in support of Mongolia’s democratisation. USA has also extended financial and economic aid to Mongolia . Mongolia in turn advanced a regional peacekeeping training centre and quick support to US campaign in Afghanistan and Iraq. In view of impending and intricate challenges to Washington expanding power bogeys in Iraq and elsewhere, Mongolia quietly facilitated its democratic institutions and procedure of governance that affirms US goals in the region. In the given circumstances, Mongolia considered its long borders a predisposed destination to ever expanding US financial assistance and strategic interests in Asia. Besides, Mongolia’s promising place for the United States, an independent democratic Mongolia also occupies a strategic position between Beijing and Moscow. Today US is concerned about China’s growing penetration into the Mongolian economy and is vigilance that it should not infiltrate negative military and political implications. Chinese analyzed these actions as part of a new US encirclement strategy for Asia. Therefore, Beijing precepts cannot afford to overlook the importance of US Mongolian ties. It in fact, is willing to counter the US encirclement strategy in order to provide safeguards to its interests. Now Mongolia instead of balancing China against Russia is now tasked with upholding relation with US in a desire to exploit its politico-economic intrusion among the geopolitical competitors of the region in the new global order.
ASSESSMENT PROSPECTS AND THE FUTURE
Mongolia’s relations with China were governed by Geo-Political, Economic and unpredictable strategic environment. Mongolia and China share a long history of relation and have a strong legacy of rapport with crisscross intervals, hard experiences filled with an aspiration of subjugation or counteractions. Though, in the new impending political atmosphere, re-establishing ties in all fields i.e. technical, economic and political, symbolizes afresh zeal for the re -approachment, appeasement and understanding in the new regional power configuration. All this signifies perceived national interests and an urge to foster its implementation. Thus, consequent upon the perceived strategies in less than a decade Mongolian- Chinese bond in the region of unequal power distribution saw a dramatic transformation from adversary to partnership and understanding since 1990. Reason being that the regional and international strategic environment is replaced with a new world politico-economic order where all the powers on the spot were in search of new strategies to fit themselves in the fixture. Simultaneously China and Mongolia prefer to compose durable relations based on sound political and economic partnership. In fact, relations between the two have passed through three different phases.
The first phase i.e. from 1987-1991, is marked by the bilateral proximity and economic synchronization giving an impression that both were natural partners for increased economic interaction and trade. Over the years there has been a striking continuum in the up gradation of relations, especially in the political spheres which has procured a high degree of affinity, dependence and interdependence between the two. Both shared identical views on many problems on global and regional issues and jointly stood for peace and development. This contributed to the strengthening of bilateral relations by signing the important treaties and agreements in contemporary times in accordance with international conventions. Presently both are busy in articulating for trade and mutually beneficial economic cooperation. As Chinese energy demand rises, a stable and neutral Mongolia is important for China as a transit link and a transportation corridor between resource rich Russian Siberia and resource deprived coastal and Central China.
The II Phase commences from 2002 onwards when bilateral relations consolidated further and Mongolian Prime Minister Enbkhbayar requested for Chinese economic assistance in the construction of Railway Link between Eastern Province of Mongolia and North Eastern Province of China via Choibalsan Arshant. China and Mongolia jointly vowed to enhance cooperation on international issues extending over UN reform to Regional Political Dialogue and the Nuclear Issues of Korean Peninsula. Both sides expressed support for each others efforts to promote political dialogue and mutual trust in the region and welcome each other’s initiatives enhancing dialogue and cooperation in Northeast Asia. The Chinese have improved its relations with Mongolia from “Constructive Cooperative Relation” to one of “Strategic Partnership” which has only been entered into by Chinese with a few countries including Russia, France and Brazil. The growing warmth witnessed rapid development with notable achievements in a number of fields. The views in each capital have dovetailed with those in the other providing many opportunities from Enhanced Political Cooperation to most Preferred Nation. In the 1990’s one clear indication of the increasing close political relations between Mongolia and China were a number of high level visits. Mongolia and China have signed important treaties and agreements which provide a legal framework to promote bilateral relations. Both the nations procure acquiescent benefits of peaceful coexistence. The changing climate at the international scenario has made them to realize the benefits of sustaining the peaceful atmosphere. Last sixteen years have been productive and eventful; much has been enacted and contributed jointly in terms of political and economic exchange. The cultural interaction has also been intensified. Chinese loans and technical aid to Mongolia have increased throughout the 1990’s and the pace of investment has actually accelerated over the past few years.
The III Phase is of corresponding enthusiasm for dependent and interdependent activities in the economic sphere as China has voracious appetite for Oil and Gas from Mongolian deposits and Mongolia is attempting hard to make China more dependent on its energy resources and at the same endeavour to develop this sector by seeking cooperation from other quarters too .. China’s is exploring petroleum through Dongsheng Jinggong in five blocks of Mongol territory. In 2006, it produced 889,000 appox thousand barrels of crude and most of it went to China. For Mongolia, the challenge is how to gain and sustain China’s rapid oil demands for its own national development. Up to now with the Chinese purchases Mongolia anticipates bright future. The ongoing relations between the two generate a much scope for further expansion and concretization of Mongolia- China cooperation in various sectors. Both countries stand together for peace and development and prefer to build a strong relationship based on good political and economic collaboration. The recurring political aspiration to resolve territorial differences by peaceful means augurs well for the future development of their bilateral relationship. Both sides put bilateral ties in an important position in their foreign relations. China and Mongolia respect the others independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, respect the others path of development, properly handle the others concern, and exert joint efforts in reciprocal and common development. It is a key factor in assessing how the future of the bilateral relationship will develop. This endeavour of Mongolia to improve and strengthen relations with China is the consequences of a comprehensive foreign policy formulation and on the basis of the transformation which may took or arise out of the impacts of new political and economic reforms in the country. Mongolia’s aim is to establish in its immediate surroundings a power equation most attuned to its immediate national interests. Friendly and constructive relations with China constitute the corner stone of Mongolia’s security perceptions and foreign policy perspectives. All these developments have been contributory factors for these two neighbouring countries to strengthen their bilateral relations. At the end Mongolia will try to benefit from economic linkages with China’s booming economy. At the same time, China’s rising power will remain a concern both for internal development and historical relations with its neighbours. By way of concluding it can be argued that the prospects for stability and continued collaboration in Sino- Mongolian relationship are indeed bright. Deepening bilateral cooperation in different fields and expanding economic interaction contributes to building a more stable bilateral relationship which will usher new epoch in the Sino- Mongolian relations, but continued hard work is needed to manage the relations.
Dr. Aftab Ahmad Khan is the Head Deptt of Political Science at Govt College for Women M.A. Road Srinagar – Kashmir, & Suraya Basu is the Lecturer in the Dept of Political Science at Amar Singh College Srinagar-Kashmir .