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Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Shenhua agrees to buy 1 billion tons of Tavan Tolgoi coal
By Michael Kohn
October 29 (Bloomberg) Three companies that mine coal in Mongolia's Tavan Tolgoi basin have agreed to export 1 billion tons of the fuel to China's Shenhua Group Corp. in the next 20 years, said the chief executive officer of one of the suppliers.
Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC, Mongolia (Mogi: Mongolian) Mining Corporation and Tavantolgoi JSC signed the memorandum of understanding with Shenhua on October 25, Yaichil Batsuuri, CEO of state-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, said in an interview today in Ulaanbaatar. The coal delivered by the three companies could generate about $50 billion at current prices, Batsuuri said.
The MOU would ensure a long-term buyer for the companies operating in the Tavan Tolgoi basin, which contains 6.4 billion tons of coal reserves. Shipping 1 billion tons of coal over 20 years would be an average of 50 million tons annually. That's almost triple the 18 million tons that Batsuuri said he expected the three Mongolian companies to export this year.
The agreement signed with Shenhua also stipulates that any coal supplied by the Mongolian companies and not wanted by Shenhua can then be sold on the international market, Batsuuri said.
Mongolia's total coal exports fell to 11.38 million tons in the first nine months from 14.29 million tons a year earlier, according to the nation's statistics bureau. The value of the coal exports dropped to $783.94 million from $1.43 billion a year earlier, according to the agency.
State-owned Erdenes TT may export 5 million tons of coal this year, Batsuuri said. The company doesn't currently earn revenue from these shipments, which are going to Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. to pay back a $250 million loan from 2011 (Mogi: $350m in total).
Batsuuri said 3 million tons of coal, valued at $170 million, needs to be delivered to Chalco to pay off the balance on the loan. He said he expects the debt to be paid in full by January or early February.
MMC exported 3.2 million tons of coal in the first half of 2013, according to an August statement by the company, citing data from the National Statistics Office. It accounted for 42 percent of Mongolia's total coal exports in the period.
Shenhua, China's biggest coal producer, also signed a separate MOU with the three companies and Mongolia's state-owned railway company to build a freight line that will help deliveries to the Chinese border. Shipments of coal from the Tavan Tolgoi basin to the border have stalled this year amid complications with trucking companies, said Batsuuri.
MEC: EXPIRY OF HK$466.8 MILLION SF CONVERTIBLE NOTES ON 12 NOVEMBER 2013
October 29, Mongolia Energy Corporation Limited (HKEx:276) --
This announcement is made pursuant to the provisions of inside information under Part XIVA of the SFO and Rule 13.09(2) of the Listing Rules.
As disclosed in our 2013 Annual Report, the Group has been under a very difficult operating environment by reasons of both internal and external factors, including technical issues in operation, the sluggish coal market environment, and the political and strategic deposits issues in Mongolia. The commercial coal production has come to a halt pending, among others, the construction of coal screening infrastructures in the Khushuut Mine Site and in Xinjiang, China respectively.
Due to setting in of the winter, completion of the Dry Coal Processing System and the Coal Washing Plant is expected to be further delayed. These will unavoidably postpone the resumption of commercial coal production to next year. The resumption is also subject to an agreement of moratorium and a debt restructuring discussed below.
The SF Convertible Note in the aggregate principal amount of HK$466,800,000 is due to expire on 12 November 2013. The Company has recently approached the holders of the SF Convertible Note requesting a moratorium on repayment of the principal and interest under the SF Convertible Note, and the terms are currently under negotiation. The aim is to preserve the current available financial resources for the operational use and development of the Group in short to medium terms. In addition, due to the high level of indebtedness of the Company, the Company is also assessing a debt restructuring plan with all the existing convertible note holders and loan provider of the Company.
If the Company fails to reach the terms of the moratorium and debt restructuring with the noteholders and loan provider of the Company and they take enforcement action against the Company, material adverse impact may occur on the operation and financial position of the Group. The Company will further announce any developments as and when appropriate.
Shareholders and potential investors are urged to exercise caution when dealing in the shares of the Company.
Draig Resources: QUARTERLY REPORT FOR THE PERIOD ENDED 30 SEPTEMBER 2013
October 29, Draig Resources Limited (ASX:DRG) --
• Inferred Resource on exploration licence 13879X reassessed at approximately 10 million tonnes in accordance with JORC 2012;
• Decision made to relinquish four exploration licences due to low probability of coal deposits which could be extracted on a commercial basis; and
• Cash balance of $3.0 million at the end of the quarter.
NatSec MSE Trading News, 29 October: Top 20 +0.01%, Turnover ₮30.3 Million
October 29 (National Securities) MSE TOP-20 Index was up slightly by +0.01% to 14,188.50. Today's volume was 21,446 shares and trading amount was 30.3m MNT. 8 shares were up, 4 shares were down and 9 shares were stable.
Eurofeo (SOI) was limit-up to 2,070 MNT. Mongol shevro (MVO) and Auto road (AAR) are the biggest gainers, increasing 14.99% and 14.77% respectively. The top loser was Mongol leather (UYN), which produces leather clothes, dropped -7.69% to 1,200 MNT. HB Oil (HBO), which is oil refinery plant, was volume leader again. It's 11,495 shares were traded with worth of 4.1 million MNT. It's price was closed at 350 MNT, dropping -4.11%. Market capitalization was 3.2 billion MNT.
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BoM Exchange Rates: October 29 Close
BoM holds FX auction: USD 20 million, CNY 66.5 million, USD 107 million swap agreements
October 29 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on October 29th, 2013 the BOM has received bid offer of USD and CNY from local commercial banks. BOM has sold 20 million USD and 66.5 million CNY to the local commercial banks.
On October 29th, 2013, The BOM has received bid offer of USD for Swap agreement from local commercial banks and sold 107.0 million USD.
RESULT OF GOVERNMENT SECURITIES AUCTION: 5-YEAR ₮50 BILLION AT 10.24%
October 29 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 5 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 50 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 50 billion /out of 80.2 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at premium price and with weighted average yield of 10.24%.
Deputy Speaker M. Enkhbold Elected New Head of MPP
October 29 (Cover Mongolia) On the third day of 27th Mongolian People's Party Congress, Deputy Speaker Miyegombo ENKHBOLD was elected as new leader of the opposition party, replacing U. Enkhtuvshin less than a year and a half after he was elected following last year's defeat in general elections.
Earlier in the morning, his father G. Miyegombo, a well-known educator and pioneer in developing Mongolia's university system, had passed away following a battle with illness.
This is the second time Mr. Enkhbold is elected MPP leader, and is a former PM (2006-2007), longtime mayor of UB (1999-2005) and a MP since 2005.
More info to follow.
New foundation laid for reforming Mongolia's justice system
October 29 (UB Post) A wide range of innovations and reform are being made in the legal and law enforcement spheres at the initiative of the President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj. The draft pack bill initiated by the President, has been approved through the Parliament, or State Great Khural, and will be implemented soon in full scale. The next step for the initiative, innovations in the structure of the existing justice system, will soon be launched.
Before the innovations and reforms are put into place, several laws will be amended. Accordingly, discussions about the draft bill on Criminal Law took place between law enforcement officials and the court sector at the Civil Hall of the President of Mongolia last Friday.
The Amnesty Law has been applied four times in the past decade, releasing some 2,000-4,000 prisoners each time, however, the number of convicts and prisoners still hasn't decreased. Lawyers believe that Mongolia law is ineffective, as the crime rate has increased by five percent while the number of inmates rose by 18-20 percent. A decision was made to make reforms to the Criminal Code. A draft bill is being developed, renaming the Criminal Code the "Law on Crimes." The newly developed draft bill on crime aims to make vested changes in securing human rights and freedom, and includes provisions to re-classify cases related to corruption and misconduct. The present Criminal Code is not capable of resolving financial crime and unfair monopolies but the new law will include those issues.
At the discussions G. Erdenebat, deputy of the State General Prosecutor, introduced the draft bill on crime. The next step for reforms in the court and legal system, which have been undergoing reforms since 2009, is the system of justice and innovations presented in the Criminal Code, stressed G. Erdenebat. The Deputy State Prosecutor defines the new draft bill on crime as being able to implement the pledge of the President, "to bend the corrupt and straighten the back of the public," through innovations in the criminal justice system. The current legal system, adopted in 1992 to preserve the values of the democratic constitution, will be improved. The time has come to protect the values that were declared in the constitution. Mongolia will follow criminal law that truly combats crime.
The draft bill on crime legally defines 68 types of crimes, including domestic violence and intentionally inflating market prices for goods. Law makers have also revised policy on sentencing minors as adults, ruining rather than rehabilitating young offenders. The new law includes opportunities for acquittal in cases where the convict completely repays damages, the protection of victims and witnesses, and jailing individuals based on the severity of their crimes as felonies or minor offenses.
Arrangements will also be made to evaluate the length of prison sentences from a month to 20 years, considering that the detention alone is not always the most effective sentence. The draft bill states that when life sentences are imposed, they should be sentences of at least 20 years.
The draft bill includes principles in great contrast to existing law; an individual can only be charged once for a single offense or crime; eliminating follow-up discussion terms in international crime; more definitive language against capital punishment; and strengthening the enforcement of the International Criminal Code so that the accused is brought to justice even when the court has no capacity or interest in charging a foreign offender in accordance with domestic jurisdiction and law.
New types of crime, crimes involving information security, corruption and misconduct, will be clearly defined and a new chapter (Crimes Against Cultural Heritage) will be included in the new law in accordance with the state policy to preserve and protect historical cultural heritage and archeological, geological and paleontological findings and extraordinary treasures. The new law also includes a new chapter on financial crime, which includes the use of illegal monopoly, creating artificial shortages, bankruptcy fraud, tax evasion, illegal conduct by banks and financial operations, intellectual property theft and violation of trade secrets, avoidance of social welfare payments, and insurance, loan and credit fraud.
Mongolia Implements Three Reforms to Improve Ease of Doing Business, Climbs Four Spots to #76
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, October 29, 2013 (World Bank) A new World Bank Group report finds that Mongolia implemented three positive business reforms between June 2012 and June 2013, making it easier to start a business, deal with construction permits, and access electricity.
Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises finds that 15 of 25 economies in East Asia and the Pacific made at least one regulatory reform to improve the ease of doing business.
Over the past year, Mongolia eliminated the requirements to get company statutes and chartered notarized and to register a new company with the local tax office, thereby making starting a business easier. The country also removed a rule requiring companies to submit building plans for lower-risk construction projects to the state for technical review. The third reform involved increasing operational efficiency while lowering the costs of getting electricity access.
IFC, the World Bank Group member focused on private sector development, has worked closely with the Mongolian government to support investment climate regulatory reforms, including providing advice on business reforms that are covered by the sub-indicators of the Doing Business index.
"For the second year in a row, Mongolia has implemented three positive business reforms, which demonstrates the country's commitment toward improving its business environment, particularly for smaller businesses," said IFC's Resident Representative in Mongolia Tuyen Nguyen. "The World Bank Group will continue to support Mongolia's reform agenda, paving the way for ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in the country."
With IFC's partnership, the Mongolian government is drawing lessons from other economies that are successful at implementing business reforms. Last year, a Mongolia reform delegation visited Georgia, one of the top Doing Business performers, to learn how information technology can make governance more transparent and efficient.
Globally, Singapore continues to provide the world's most business-friendly regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs, followed by Hong Kong SAR, China. Joining Singapore and Hong Kong on the top 10 list this year are, in this order, New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Georgia, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
About the Doing Business report series
The joint World Bank and IFC flagship Doing Business report analyzes regulations that apply to an economy's businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 189 economies. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure the quality of fiscal management, other aspects of macroeconomic stability, the level of skills in the labor force, or the resilience of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates worldwide and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. This year's report marks the 11th edition of the global Doing Business report series and covers 189 economies. For more information about the Doing Business reports, please visit doingbusiness.org and join us on doingbusiness.org/Facebook.
Skymedia Deploys Entone Hybrid TV Solutions
Cupertino, California, October 29 (Entone) – Entone, Inc., a leading provider of Hybrid TV and Connected Home solutions, announced today that Skymedia, a subsidiary of Skytel, one of Mongolia's largest mobile operator, is deploying its Kamai 510 Hybrid Media Player to deliver advanced IPTV services.
With more than a quarter of the nation's mobile phone market, Skymedia is continuing to expand into IPTV. Since 2012, Skymedia has been expanding their DSL and fiber networks to enable the delivery of video and IP services to a growing population of over 2.9 million people.
"Deploying IPTV has its unique challenges. Offering IPTV services in rugged and remote areas of Mongolia makes quality, stability and support especially important," stated D. Byambatseren, CEO at Skymedia. "Entone has helped us to reduce our CAPEX and OPEX during this IPTV rollout. Entone's hybrid solutions enable us to differentiate with services such as VOD and nPVR, while also allowing us to launch new emerging services in the future without additional truck rolls. Entone's world-class support has also been extremely valuable."
Entone's Kamai 510 hybrid media player is a powerful and flexible platform for IPTV and Hybrid TV services. Kamai offers a carrier-grade 5 GHz Wi-Fi option for wireless whole-home HD video distribution.
"We are proud to be partnering with Skymedia as we continue our expansion in the APAC region," said Mark Evensen, founder and CTO of Entone. "We look forward to supporting Skymedia with their IPTV deployment, and as they launch new services in the future."
Skymedia's deployment further validates Entone's global market leadership position in IPTV and Hybrid TV solutions. Over 150 of the world's leading service operators are deployed with Entone to support their IP and Hybrid TV video services.
USA to support Mongolian SMEs with $400 million USAID funding
Ulaanbaatar, October 29 /MONTSAME/ United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has established a technical assistance fund of 400 million USD for development of Mongolian small and medium enterprises.
The fund under the Quality Supplier Development Center of USAID Business Plus Initiative projects aims at increasing current offtakes of our small- and medium-sized businesses at least five-times, and at assisting them in supplying high quality products to the market.
Future actions of the fund will be detailed at the meeting that is to take place in the exhibition hall of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry on October 30.
Mongolia and Poland sign declaration of cooperation in mining
October 29 (UB Post) A Mongolia-Poland Business Forum took place on Monday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in relation to the official visit by the President of the Republic of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski.
A delegation of representatives from some 30 Polish businesses accompanied President Komorowski, and heard an opening speech delivered by President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj, commending the endeavor.
During the forum participants discussed possible collaboration in the mining sector, especially in coal mining, and the supply of European standard mining equipment and machinery at low costs. The parties also discussed the progress of projects financed by credit from the Polish government.
The Mongolian Minister of Mining, D.Gankhuyag, and the Polish Minister of Economy, Janusz Piechocinski, signed a declaration of cooperation in the mining sector.
The ministries expressed their intent to futher economic trade and cooperation by introducing Polish mining technologies and trading heavy machinery and equipment used in mining. The Polish representatives also agreed to conduct a professional analysis of mining development and train Mongolian personnel working in the field.
Malaysia explores Oil and Gas opportunities in Mongolia
October 29 (UB Post) Nine Malaysian companies participated in the inaugural Oil & Gas Specialized Marketing Mission (SMM) to Ulaanbaatar from October 1 – 3. The mission was organized by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).
Among products and services promoted by Malaysian companies were valves, pipes and fittings, heating, ventilation, air conditioning services, lubricants, original equipment manufacturing services, technical and engineering training, sub-contracting for scaffolding and insulation services, engineering design services, as well as drilling equipment and services.
MATRADE's pre-arranged 102 business meetings between Malaysian companies and potential Mongolian buyers and major companies in the oil and gas sectors successfully generated sales and business opportunities valued at 677.94 million MYR (approximately 213 million USD).
Feedback from Malaysian companies was positive. A representative from Innovative Fluid Process Sdn Bhd said, "We got firsthand, ground-level information about the market. This is very good." Another participating company, Esional Sdn Bhd, added, "This SMM is really an eye opener and has given us some confidence for the subsequent move to tap the opportunities in Mongolia."
Mongolia is a fast growing emerging market that registered economic growth of 12.3 percent in 2012. The country has proven reserves of 2.4 billion barrels of oil at its three producing blocks and another 10 billion barrels of oil estimated in the Eastern Mongolian Basin. Mongolia is planning to have its own refinery plant by 2015, and this development will further boost the petroleum industry and supporting industries.
UK West Midland firms told to look at Mongolia for new export opportunities
October 29 (TheBusinessDesk.com) FIRMS in the West Midlands have been urged to consider Mongolia as a new trading partner.
Jonathan Webber, Head of UK Trade & Investment's International Trade team Birmingham said the recent visit by William Hague to the country had highlighted its potential.
"There are many reasons why the world is suddenly waking up to the opportunities that abound in Mongolia and why West Midlands companies need to make sure they don't lose out," he said.
"For starters, Mongolia is expected to be the fastest growing economy in the world over the next two decades, with GDP per capita looking like it will more than quadruple by 2020. In 2012 it grew by 12.3% and in 2013 it's expected to grow by up to 12%, potentially doubling in 2014."
UKTI is holding an 'Explore Mongolia' seminar at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham on Thursday November 14, as part of a series of events organised for Export Week (November 11-15).
Contributing to the seminar will be a variety of experts from the British Embassy, Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia's capital), the Mongolian Embassy, London and UKTI West Midlands.
As well as advice for doing business in Mongolia, firms attending the event will learn why rapid growth - largely in the mining sector - has led analysts to christen Mongolia the 'Wolf Economy'.
Some of the largest untapped gold, copper and coal deposits in the world have been discovered in the country.
Mongolia also has the world's largest copper reserves, the second-largest coal reserves, significant onshore oil and gas fields, vast gold and iron ore reserves, and many other enormously significant deposits of minerals ranging from uranium to tungsten and zinc.
"Put simply, Mongolia's minerals will provide the world with supplies of many of its most valuable raw minerals for the rest of this century," added Webber.
The mining sector expansion is expected to have a strong multiplier effect on the wider economy in the years ahead. Raw and processed products will need to be transported from some relatively inaccessible areas to the global markets.
In addition, Mongolia already has a young, well-educated population, and a vibrant democracy with a pro-Western outlook - English is Mongolia's official second language.
Massive infrastructure projects are being planned to support the 2.9m Mongolian population.
As in other areas of Asia, high-quality imported consumer goods are increasingly popular and this demand is expected to increase rapidly in the years ahead.
West Midlands businesses have been advised to focus on the agriculture, construction, professional, financial and business services, education and tourism sectors for new opportunities.
The Mongolia seminar is designed to provide firms with briefing on the country's business climate and opportunities. UKTI will also be leading a trade visit to Ulaanbaatar in March 2014 and further details on how to participate will be available at the event.
Further details on the event are available by visiting http://www.exportweek.ukti.gov.uk/full
Mongolia's construction sector busy – and stretched
October 28 (Oxford Business Group) Strong demand from both the public and private sectors will keep Mongolia's construction industry busy for the foreseeable future, though the heavy calls on the building trade is stretching resources and pushing up costs.
According to a World Bank report issued in early 2013, capital expenditure in Mongolia has experienced a 35-fold increase over the past 10 years, with the construction sector's contribution to GDP expanding by 25.6% in 2012, mainly due to a rise in public spending. More than 16% of all bank loans went to the construction industry in 2012, the report said, up from 11.8% the prior year, while the real estate sector's share of lending climbed to 17.3%, higher than mining's 14.4%.
Although demand on the construction industry is growing quickly, the World Bank said the capacity of the sector to absorb extensive new projects is not always keeping pace.
"Institutions for project appraisal, procurement, contracting and monitoring are currently under development and are being strained by the rapid increases in the capital budget," the World Bank report said. The international lender also noted a limited pool of skilled labour and a shortage of material inputs, which could drive up costs and compromise quality.
The government has moved to alleviate some of these constraints, providing $86.3m in working capital loans to 60 companies involved in the supply of construction materials, such as gravel and sand, steel, cement and lime. According to Ts. Bayarsaikhan, the minister of construction and urban development, it is hoped that within a few years, Mongolia will be self-sufficient in steel manufacturing and cement, along with a number of other key materials.
"Construction companies are already being supplied with bricks, PSP pipes for water and windows made by domestic manufacturers," he said in an interview with the local media on September 4. "Thus, in the near future, we'll be able to domestically manufacture and supply 15 main construction materials."
Industry participants say the government programme will have a significant impact in the sector, with plans to have up to 80% of all cement locally sourced by the end of the year, up from 30-40% today.
The government has also taken steps to tighten safety regulations on construction sites, which could attract more labour, particularly local, to the sector. While the effect in the short run has been to delay some projects, the long-term result is expected to be a safer and more secure industry.
One of the fastest-growing segments of the construction sector is transport infrastructure. Mongolia is working to expand its road and rail networks in particular. Almost 3000 km of major roads are under construction, with 1700 km of these due for completion by the end of 2013. There are also plans for building 1800 km of mainline rail lines for dedicated freight cargoes, set to be completed in 2018.
D. Ganbaatar, the president of Max Group, a local conglomerate, said that while road development largely depends on the state, with only so much the private sector could do to drive such projects forward, new plans to connect all of the country's provinces by road within the next two years should add to the construction sector's order book.
So too will the increasing urbanisation of Mongolia, with developments in the cities, and in particular the capital, being a growth driver, Ganbaatar told OBG. As more people move to urban areas, the need for both housing and retail facilities is increasing.
"In Mongolia, construction has been positively affected by the fast growth of the retail sector," he said. "This tight relationship will continue to be a key driver of more construction projects, especially in Ulaanbaatar."
In the housing sector, strong demand is pushing up prices, with a state-backed, low-cost mortgage loan scheme introduced in June contributing to the upward trend. However, Bayarsaikhan has said inflationary pressures will ease as the state's efforts to boost the supply of construction materials begin to have an effect. Moreover, according to the minister, some 33,000 housing units are set to come onto the market before the end of 2014.
The expectation is that demand for housing will remain high for some years to come, as citizens in lower income brackets seek to take advantage of inexpensive loans and developers launch real estate projects aimed at the growing higher end of the market. While construction companies could benefit from the substantial need for housing, they are likely to continue facing higher costs for some time.
Today marks 374th anniversary of Ulaanbaatar City
October 29 /www.news.mn/ Today, the capital city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, is marking its 374th anniversary on October 29th.
To celebrate this occasion the Governor`s Office of Ulaanbaatar City is organizing several public events. The scheduled events are as follows:
08:00 The Ulaanbaatar City Governor, Deputy Governor and representatives of the Ulaanbaatar City Citizens Representatives Khural will teach lessons on the history and culture of Ulaanbaatar City to school children.
11:00 A ceremonial event will be held at the newly laid foundation where a monument of a tortoise will later be erected and solo will be played by a horse-head fiddle with the symbol of Ulaanbaatar City.
11.30 A ceremonial event will be held to mark the re-location of the statue of great Mongolian writer D.Natsagdorj to a new place, to the garden in front of Ulaanbaatar hotel.
12.00 The ceremonial raising of the Ulaanbaatar City flag at Chinggis Khan Square (formerly Sukhbaatar Square).
12.20 Premier release of the album "Polite Ulaanbaatar" at Great Chinggis Khan Square.
12.40 A ceremony to mark the opening of Metropolitan Sale and Events at Great Chinggis Khan Square.
13.00 A gala concert by the children`s choir festival for the 374th anniversary of Ulaanbaatar City at the Central Cultural Palace.
17.00 Award Ceremony for the best construction in Ulaanbaatar City held at the Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet.
North Korea-Mongolia Sign Deals Before Leaders Meet in Pyongyang
October 29 (Bloomberg) North Korea and Mongolia signed a series of agreements to step up cooperation in a move that could help ease the two former Soviet allies' economic reliance on China.
The agreements were signed yesterday hours after Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj arrived in Pyongyang to become the first head of state to visit since Kim Jong Un became supreme leader in December 2011. The accords covered cooperation in industry, agriculture, sports, culture and tourism, the official Korean Central News Agency said. It didn't provide details.
"North Korea and Mongolia are particularly reliant on China," Charles Krusekopf, head of the American Center for Mongolian Studies, said by phone from Victoria, British Columbia. "Mongolia is looking for outlets to the sea to export minerals, coal and energy resources. There are a lot of people talking about potential for Mongolian resources to be shipped through North Korean ports to world markets."
Mongolia, a nation of 2.9-million people squeezed between Russia and China, adopted democracy and free elections in 1990, and moved to welcome foreign trade by offering access to its mineral riches. North Korea has been reaching out to friendly nations such as Mongolia and Indonesia as international sanctions over its nuclear weapons program have limited trade and hobbled the economy.
In June, HBOil JSC, an oil trading and refining company in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia said it acquired a 20 percent stake in the Sungri refinery in the North's northeastern free trade zone of Rason.
Sungri has a refining capacity of 2 million tons a year and is connected to the Russian railway systems, HBOil said in a release. In September, Russia completed a 54-kilometer (33.6 miles) rail link between Khasan in its southeastern corner and a rebuilt North Korean port in Rason.
"I am sure that the Korean people will successfully achieve prosperity and progress of the country, their happiness and regional peace and stability in close cooperation with the international community," KCNA reported Elbegdorj saying at an official banquet in Pyongyang.
In September last year, after meeting with the visiting chief of North Korea's parliament, Elbegdorj pledged to help the new North Korean leader pursue economic reform, offering his nation's experience of moving toward capitalism.
North Korea and Mongolia first set up diplomatic relations in 1948, the year the North was founded. The relationship between the two countries dates back to 1939 when North Korean founder Kim Il Sung joined Mongolian-Soviet forces in fighting the Japanese, Song Byeong Gu, a professor of Mongolian studies at Dankook University outside Seoul, wrote in a paper in April.
North Korea cut its ties with Mongolia in protest when then-South Korean President Kim Dae Jung visited Mongolia in 1999. The sides re-established ties when North Korea's foreign minister visited Mongolia in 2002.
Mongolia sees its national security guaranteed better if it maintains neutral relations with both Koreas and major powers such as China, Russia, Japan and the U.S., Song wrote.
Agreements on Cooperation between Governments of DPRK, Mongolia Signed – KCNA, October 28
Mongolian president may talk with Kim in North Korea
SEOUL, October 29 (The Asahi Shimbun) Mongolia's President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj is visiting North Korea, making him the first foreign head of state to go there under Kim Jong Un's leadership.
Elbegdorj held talks with Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said Oct. 28.
Because Mongolia traditionally has close ties with North Korea, Japanese officials are holding out hope the visit will lead to progress in the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.
The visit is the first by a foreign leader since Kim became first secretary of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea in April 2012. It is thought that Kim Jong Un may meet with Elbegdorj during his stay.
KCNA said Elbegdorj and Kim Yong Nam shared opinions on the state of relations between the two countries and other issues.
The online edition of Rodong Sinmun, mouthpiece of the North's ruling party, said in an editorial on Oct. 28 that the Korean people viewed the visit as a good occasion to develop bilateral ties, as well as mutual exchange and cooperation, "in all fields."
This year marks the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties between North Korea and Mongolia.
Japan has sought Mongolia's assistance in helping it solve the abduction issue. Japanese officials have their fingers crossed that Kim might send some signal on the issue via Elbegdorj.
Mongolia has been receptive to the Japanese request, and a focus of attention now is whether the president refers to the issue in Pyongyang.
Mongolia will work with N. Korea to promote NE Asia stability: president
SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- Mongolia's president stressed that his country will work with Pyongyang to promote stability in Northeast Asia, the North's state media reported Tuesday.
The (North) Korean Central Television (KCTV) said President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who is visiting North Korea, emphasized the important role that can be played by Pyongyang and Ulaanbaatar in pushing forward peace and stability in the region.
The broadcaster said the remark was made by the chief executive (Mogi: Mongolian president is not the head of gov) ate Monday following talks with senior North Korean officials, including Kim Yong-nam, the president of the Supreme People's Assembly Presidium.
Elbegdorj added that Mongolia was ready to work with all interested parties so as to contribute to the prosperity of Northeast Asia.
KCTV then said that officials from the two countries were in agreement on the need to expand cooperation in trade and investment, and shared the view such developments will further bilateral interests.
Kim, the nominal head of North Korea, meanwhile, said at the banquet honoring the Mongolian president's visit, that there has been continuous cooperation in political, economic, military and sports, and that Pyongyang is committed to expanding strong ties with Ulaanbaatar.
North Korean sources in Seoul and abroad said Elbegdorj's visit marks the first one by a foreign head of state since Kim Jong-un took control of the communist country in late 2011.
A summit meeting between Kim and Mongolia's leader will mark the "coming out" of the North Korean leader onto the stage of international diplomacy.
Mogi: Elbegdorj wished successful peaceful reunification of Korea under Kim Jong Un. KCNA is the DPRK state news agency
Banquet Given for Mongolian President
Pyongyang, October 28 (KCNA) -- The Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) hosted a banquet in honor of Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj on a state visit to the DPRK at the Mansudae Assembly Hall on Monday evening.
Present there on invitation were the president and his wife, Luvsanvandan Bold, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Manibadrakh Ganbold, Mongolian ambassador to the DPRK, Khaltmaa Battulga, minister of Industry and Agriculture, Tsagaandari Enkhtuvshin, secretary general of the National Security Council, Tserendejid Byambajav, chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Khabshai Erjan, vice-minister of Road Transport, Lundeg Purevsuren, national security and foreign policy advisor to the President, Amgalanbaatar Ganbaatar, advisor for mass liaison and mass policy to the President, Pureb Altangerel, secretary of state for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and personages concerned and staff members of the Mongolian embassy here.
Present there were Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK SPA, Pak Ui Chun, foreign minister, Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade, Ri Jong Mu, minister of Physical Culture and Sports, Kim Jong Suk, chairwoman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, O Kum Chol, vice-chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army, Pak Kil Yon, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Kwak Il Ryong, vice-minister of Land and Maritime Transport, Hong Kyu, DPRK ambassador to Mongolia, Vice-Chairman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Kim Jin Bom who is chairman of the DPRK-Mongolia Friendship Association, and officials concerned.
Kim Yong Nam made a speech there.
He said that this is a significant year marking the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries and the 25th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung's second visit to Mongolia.
He went on:
The Mongolian president's visit to the DPRK marks an important occasion in boosting the traditional relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries, which were provided and developed by the preceding leaders, as required by the new era. The exchange of delegations at various levels and visits have become brisk in various fields including politics, economy, military affairs and sports and support and cooperation in the international arena have grown stronger than ever before.
We rejoice as our own over the fact that the friendly government and people of Mongolia have achieved the rapid socio-economic development of the country and raised the international position of their country by pursuing an independent and multi-faceted foreign policy under the leadership of the president. And we sincerely hope that everything will go well in Mongolia in the days to come.
We will as ever make all efforts to positively develop the friendly and cooperative relations with Mongolia having a long history and tradition.
Mongolian President H.E. Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj spoke next.
He said that he was pleased that the official talks between the two countries were held in a candid and friendly atmosphere and consensus was reached on all issues discussed at the talks.
He expressed belief that all issues agreed upon between the two countries would make a substantial contribution to enriching the bilateral relations of friendship and cooperation in new areas and positively developing them in the mutual interests.
The Mongolian people are pleased that the preceding leaders of state and government of Mongolia and His Excellency Kim Il Sung and His Excellency Kim Jong Il, great leaders of Korean people, laid the cornerstone of traditional friendly relations between Mongolia and the DPRK and the bilateral cooperation is steadily improving in the fields of politics, economy, culture and humanitarianism, he said and went on:
I am sure that the Korean people will successfully achieve prosperity and progress of the country, their happiness and regional peace and stability in close cooperation with the international community.
I wish the hard-working Korean people greater successes in carrying out the cause of peaceful reunification of the country and its prosperity under the leadership of Marshal Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army.
The banquet proceeded in an atmosphere overflowing with friendly sentiments.
Could Mongolia Serve as a Mediator with North Korea?
October 28 (Korea Economic Institute) As the only Northeast Asian nation not involved in the nuclear talks with North Korea, Mongolia is often left out of discussions about resolving the region's most intractable security issue – the North Korean nuclear crisis. However, when Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj becomes the first head of state to meet with Kim Jong-un on his current trip to Pyongyang in commemoration of 65 years of ties between the two nations, he hopes to in moving North Korea towards a more peaceful path.
At first glance, Mongolia may seem an unlikely mediator for dealing with North Korea. China has played the most significant role in mediating disputes between North Korea and its neighbors, while North Korea has sought to have direct conversations with the United States regarding its nuclear program. But since signing a friendship treaty to reestablish ties in 2002 after a brief interlude as Mongolia transitioned to democracy, Ulaanbaatar has utilized to engage North Korea.
One of the primary ways Mongolia has sought to engage North Korea is by presenting itself as an example of a country that was able to make economic reforms peacefully while balancing its powerful neighbors. Much like Mongolia, which has become a boom market thanks to its mineral wealth, North Korea possesses substantial mineral deposits. Mongolia has offered this as one path for North Korea to develop its economy while retaining its sovereignty. However, Mongolia's economic boom also led to a transition to a democratic government, something which has long been a concern of the leadership in Pyongyang if it were to engage in economic reforms.
In the years since reestablishing ties, North Korea and Mongolia have signed a related to science and technology, agriculture, trade, infrastructure, and other fields. Business ties are growing as well. Currently, there are 1,700 North Koreans working in Mongolia and President Elbegdorj is supportive of raising that number as well as engaging in joint economic projects, such as a Mongolian firm taking a in North Korea. At the height of tensions earlier this year with South Korea, North Korea felt close enough in its ties to Mongolia to reach out for food aid.
As one of the few countries with with both North and South Korea, this may place Mongolia in a position to play a mediating role. While the West and North Korea both have complicated relationships with China, Mongolia is on relatively good terms with all of the parties involved and in some cases may be an . Additionally, unlike the other parties involved, Mongolia does not have the complex history with North Korea of other states in the region and does not present a potential security threat to Pyongyang.
However, in recent years Mongolia has served as conduit for discussion with North Korea. Mongolia has offered to serve as a host for meetings between North Korea and other officials. In 2012, Mongolia as the two sides sought to resolve differences over the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. President Elbegdorj discussed this issue earlier this year in his meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Abe and with Kim Jong-un.
In 2009, to let the United States know that while it would not return to the Six Party Talks, it was interested in meeting one-on-one with the United States dismantling its nuclear program and normalizing relations.
While Mongolia is unlikely to supplant the role China has played, it could find a role as a facilitator and neutral intermediary in helping to resolve tensions in Northeast Asia. One of the issues that blocked a resolution to the Six Party Talks was the abduction issue. If Mongolia were able to help to facilitate discussion and agreement on discreet issues such as this, it could play an important role in helping to maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
Japanese court investigating 90 billion MNT purchase by Avar LLC
October 28 (UB Post) Avar LLC, registered in Mongolia, has been making headlines in Japanese media. Avar Limited Liability Company won a recent auction for the headquarters of the General Association of Korean Residents in Chiyoda district, Japan (known as Chongryon) with a bid of 5.01 billion JPY (90 billion MNT).
Limited information available about Avar LLC
Mongolian companies rarely purchase immovable property in Japan (Mogi: rarely? Was there such a case?), and Japanese concerns have been raised about connections to North Korea. Japanese authorities want to learn more about Avar LLC, its influence in Mongolia, and whether it can fully fund its purchase of the building.
Little information about Avar LLC is available, aside from its registration in Mongolia. One Japanese journalist of Japanese called Mongolia to speak with professional sumo wrestler Kyokushuzan Batbayar, and he replied, "There is no individual with that sum of money in Mongolia." (Mogi: well, sure he would say that, not a big fan of Asa) The lack of information about the buyer means that the court will need more time to determine whether or not they will proceed with the purchase. As a result, the Japanese court has postponed a decision to approve the sale of the General Association of Korean Residents in Tokyo headquarters to Avar LLC.
According to reports by some Japanese websites, there is speculation that Avar LLC is buying the building on behalf of North-Korea. Other Japanese analysts believe that there may be political involvement behind the purchase.
The building first went on auction in March 2013 and a Kagoshima-based Buddhist priest placed the winning bid of 4.5 billion yen. The priest, who had close ties with officials in North Korea, failed to come up with the money by the deadline.
President of Avar LLC: It is just a business
The President of Avar LLC spoke about the purchase raising Japanese and Mongolian interest. According to his statement, Avar LLC was established nine months ago, and over the past several months, drafted a project to participate in the auction in Japan. He said, "We have no ties with any government bodies and it is just business, like we informed Japanese press and media."
The founder of Avar LLC, Ch.Erdenebat, is the brother of Mongolian celebrity Ch.Michidmaa. There is further speculation that professional sumo wrestler Asashoryu Dagvadorj and his brother, Member of Parliament D.Sumiyabazar, might be involved in the transaction.
Here is a brief interview with President of Avar LLC, Ch.Erdenebat.
- The Japanese court has delayed the decision to proceed with the sale of the Chongryon site. Why has the court decision been postponed for the building you've purchased at auction?
The court decision is delayed because of various reports related to the auction by the press and media of Japan and Mongolia. The court decision was supposed to be issued last Tuesday. But a court decision will be issued soon.
- Your company has not been active before this? How did you participate in the auction?
Our company has not been established for a long time. It is true that we have not been active. The company participated in the auction via a Japanese law firm. It does not matter how active the company is to participate in the auction.
- Your obliged 5.01 billion JPY is a very large amount of money. How did you organize the funds?
We will gather it through a foreign investment fund. After the court has made its decision I will give you specific information.
- According to reports by some Japanese press, Member of the State Great Khural D.Sumiyabazar and professional sumo wrestler and 68th grand champion Asashoryu D.Dagvadorj are connected to the purchase, or the Japanese government is behind this to bring back its citizens who were kidnapped in North Korea.
There are no links with any government bodies in Mongolia, Japan, North Korea or South Korea. It is just a business. Member of the State Great Khural D.Sumiyabazar is the husband of my sister Ch.Michidmaa. That is why people say that D.Sumiyabazar is involved in the purchase.
- Is Asashoryu D.Dagvadorj connected to the purchase?
Program on Developing Mongolia-China Strategic Partnership Relations Approved and What to Expect
October 29 /www.infomongolia.com/ Mongolian delegation led by Prime Minister Norov ALTANKHUYAG made a 4-day official visit to the People's Republic of China and during his meeting with Premier of China Li Keqiang, sides conducted a large scale intergovernmental meeting in Beijing on October 25, 2013.
The main part of the negotiations was signing the Medium and Long Term Program on Developing Mongolia-China Strategic Partnership Relations approved by two Premiers. The two countries have been entered into strategic partnership relations in 2011.
Afterwards, intergovernmental dialogue was continued establishing ten documents on cooperation in trade, economics, sciences, mining, infrastructure, transportation and communications. Moreover, Minister for Economic Development N.Batbayar co-signed an intergovernmental agreement on economic and technical cooperation.
10 documents established between the Governments of Mongolia and China:
1. "Medium and Long Term Program on Developing Mongolia-China Strategic Partnership Relations", representing theGovernment of Mongolia was signed by Premier N.Altankhuyag;
- In the frames of establishment the Program, Mongolia-China's strategic partnership would be advanced all sectors and implemented step by step;
2. "Mongolia-China Intergovernmental Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation", Minister for Economic Development N.Batbayar;
- China to provide a 50 million non-refundable government grants;
3. "Intergovernmental Agreement on Civil Aircraft Search and Rescue", Minister for Road and Transportation A.Gansukh;
- The two Governments to cooperate on Civil Aircraft Search and Rescue;
4. "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between Mongolia's Ministry of Education and Science and China's Ministry of Science and Technology", Deputy Minister of Education and Science B.Urgamaltsetseg;
- To establish First Science Park in Mongolia, exchange students and scholars, moreover Mongolia's 1,000 students will be studying in China in 5 years to come;
5. "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Disaster Prevention Sector between National Emergency Management Agency of Mongolia and Ministry of Civil Affairs of China", NEMA Director T.Dulamdorj;
- The two bodies to exchange experiences, use of space technology in forecasting, and train Mongolian NEMA experts in China;
6. "General Agreement of Cooperation between Development Banks of Mongolia and China", N.Munkhbat, Executive Director of the Development Bank;
- To support each other on reciprocal territory and increase the volume of national currency for trade purposes;
7. "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between Mongolian Railway state-owned shareholding company (MTZ),
China's Shenhua Energy Group, and Consortium of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, Energy Resources and TavanTolgoi companies", Executive Director of MTZ P.Bat-Erdene;
- Mongolia to supply China with 1 billion tons of coal within 20 years;
8. "Memorandum of Understanding on Developing UkhaaKhudag - GashuunSukhait Railway between Mongolian Railway and Shenhua Energy Group", MTZ Executive Director P.Bat-Erdene;
- Shenhua Group to construct a railroad connecting Mongolia's "GashuunSukhait" border port and China's "Gants Mod";
9. "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between Ministry of Mining of Mongolia and Sinopec Group of China",
Mining Ministry State Secretary R.Jigjid;
- To build a gas plant based on Mongolian thermal coal resource, to provide domestic needs with its production and further toexport to China;
10. "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between Petroleum Authority of Mongolia and PetroChina Company",Petroleum Authority Director G.Ulziiburen.
- Mongolia to export its crude oil and in exchange to import an end-product of fuel under MGL-93 grade, increase the volume upto 35-40 thousand tons per month;
On October 26, Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag was received by Xi Jinping, the President of the People's Republic of China andby Zhang Dejiang, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Mongolia: Deaf, dumb and blind on Chinese cyber-attacks
October 29 (UB Post) Earlier this month, several online news outlets reported that Chinese hacker groups, allegedly state sponsored, launched attacks on Mongolian businesses and government to learn as much as it can about Mongolia's relations with the European Union and countries such as the United States, South Korea and Japan. The campaign targets not only entities from Mongolia, but also ones that have economic, diplomatic or military relations with the country.
"The ThreatConnect Intelligence Research Team (TCIRT) has identified a weaponized Microsoft Word document that contains a Concept Development Conference (CDC) announcement for the joint US and Mongolia military exercise called Khaan Quest 2014. Retrospective TCIRT research identified additional decoy documents, written in Mongolian, themed around events like the Mongolian presidential election, held in June 2013. This activity represents Chinese Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) activity against Mongolian entities and others that have economic, military, or diplomatic relations with Mongolia. Mongolia's attempt to steer a more independent path by reaching out to what it calls "third neighbors," such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union, is possibly prompting China to conduct CNE. ," explained the cyber intelligence agency.
The cyber offensive tactics which are very similar to those long applied against Tibetan and Uyghur nationalists and affiliated groups according to TCIRT. The targeted attacks "would help China maintain awareness of changes in Mongolian relations with the US and other Western influences and protect their national interests in Mongolia."
Although it is wedged between two great nations Russia and China, Mongolia is attempting to secure its independence by reaching out to what it calls "third neighbours'," such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union. TCIRT said Mongolia hopes that engagements such as joining Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will alter the dynamics of the region, so that it will move from being bound by Russia-China geopolitics to becoming a fully independent member of the region and international society. A strategic pivot westward by Mongolia only diminishes Chinese influence.
China has been the largest investor in Mongolia since 1998 and its largest trading partner since 1999. In 2009, the bilateral trade figure stood at 2.4 billion USD with China importing 1.3 billion USD worth of commodities, which accounted for more than 70 percent of Mongolian exports. According to official Mongolian statistics, China invested a total of 2.3 billion USD dollars in 2009, more than 60 percent of the total foreign investment in Mongolia.
In its conclusion, the TCIRT stated, "This activity represents Chinese Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) activity against organizations that China perceives to be jeopardizing its interests in Mongolia. As evidenced in the weaponized Khaan Quest document described above, Chinese APT groups will likely continue targeting US military entities involved in cooperation activities with the Mongolian military. Also, western European and other governments that engage with Mongolia diplomatically will be considered CNE targets as well. China's heavy economic investment in Mongolian natural resources will likely continue to fuel cyber espionage efforts against commercial entities, particularly mining and energy exploration companies that may compete with Chinese mining and energy companies in Mongolia."
China has many interests in Mongolia, but like most of its neighbours', anti-Chinese sentiment and tendencies can be observed in Mongolia to some degree. Although it is natural to seek security for one's interest in a population that is not entirely accepting of them, the cyber-attacks on Mongolia only further fuels local anti-Chinese sentiments, fear and distrust. The move, if indeed sponsored by the Chinese government would undermine the two country's relations. Chinese companies are disliked by Mongolian communities and locals, because they usually bring their own workers, and contributes little to decrease local unemployment. Add to that a long history of war and conflict between the nations and indoctrination of local heroes fighting against villains, who are so often from China, and you have a culture that is sceptical and fearful of China.
But there are other issues present in the matter. Although a serious breach of national security or cyber security has occurred the Ministry of Defence has not mentioned the affair once, and local news and media outlets haven't reported on the matter. Such follies cannot be ignored, for the sake of the nation's interest, security and independence. At least an investigation into the matter should be conducted by Mongolian authorities.
Visa-free travel for Mongolians to Turkey and official/diplomatic passport holders to Brunei now available
October 25 (UB Post) The citizens of Mongolia and Turkey can now visiting each other for up to 30 days without a visa.
The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, signed an MoU on a visa waiver during his visit to Mongolia last April.
An intergovernmental agreement on the visa waiver was signed by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from Mongolia to Turkey B.Batkhishig and by the Director-General of the Consular Department of Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sakir Fakili.
Also, diplomatic and official passport holders of Mongolia and Brunei Darussalam can visit each other without a visa for 14 days, effective August 2013, in accordance with a note exchanged between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries.
North-East Asia Economic Cooperation Forum & Greater Tumen Initiative Meeting, Ulaanbaatar, October 30-31
Ulaanbaatar, October 29 /MONTSAME/ The North-East Asia Economic Cooperation Forum and the 14th Consultative committee meeting of the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI) are to run in Ulaanbaatar on October 30-31.
At the forum to be organized by the GTI, a cooperation mechanism between governments of Mongolia, China, Russia and S.Korea, present will be S.Purev, Deputy-Minister of Finance of Mongolia; Kyung-Ho Choo, Deputy-Minister of Strategy and Finance of South Korea; Pavel Korolev, Deputy-Minister of Economic Development of Russia; Yu Jianhua, Chairman of Foreign Economic Cooperation Department of Chinese Commerce Ministry and some hundred representatives of international banks and financial institutions.
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Jobs: Mongolia Country Coordinator, Revenue Watch Institute
The Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) is a non-profit policy institute and grant-making organization that promotes the responsible management of oil, gas and mineral resources for the public good. With effective revenue management, citizen engagement and real government accountability, natural resource wealth can drive development and national growth. RWI provides the expertise, funding and technical assistance to help countries realize these benefits. For more information, please see: www.revenuewatch.org
RWI seeks a full-time, Ulaanbaatar-based Mongolia Country Coordinator (MCC) to support the implementation of RWI's activities with civil society organizations, government and the Parliament of Mongolia.
Since 2006, Revenue Watch has worked to advance natural resource governance across Asia, including the provision of technical assistance to government and civil society in Mongolia. This fall RWI will scale up its country work with the launch of a nine-month pilot program supporting the Great State Hural and exploring opportunities to develop further lines of work.
In particular, the MCC will be responsible for leading on the new parliamentary activities, and assessing the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of work with local governments and communities, as well supporting civil society work and building relationships with policymakers, government officials and donors in areas such as new legislation and revenue management. The MCC will work closely with staff at RWI's New-York headquarters, RWI's London office, where the Parliamentary Capacity Development Officer is based and the Eurasia Regional Office in Baku. The MCC will report to the Eurasia Regional Coordinator, but will be hosted by the Open Society Mongolia in Ulan Bator. Open Society Forum Mongolia's Executive Director will provide day to day supervision and support to the MCC.
· Lead the design and development of capacity-building and technical assistance activities supporting parliamentary and civil society's engagement with issues of extractive industry governance and EITI; This includes coordination of training workshops and analysis and research products that will inform the program;
· Strategic design and review of the country strategy. This includes ongoing monitoring of Mongolia's country context, developments in the extractive sectors and results from activities to continuously inform the design of future activities;
· Maintain and coordinate relationships with relevant stakeholders including government officials, partner organizations, CSOs, international donors and mining companies to ensure program complementarity;
· Facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue and engagement between policy makers and oversight actors, including, when relevant, the creation of formal multi-stakeholder platforms;
· Lead monitoring and evaluation of the program through the application of the developed logical framework. This will include among others, tracking activity expenditures and monitoring overall program budget, preparing periodical activity reports according to the agreed schedule with donors, meeting donors for regular updates, distilling and writing up anecdotes and case studies on lessons learned or impacts produce for public dissemination;
· Identify and act on funding opportunities for future programming;
· Undertake logistical planning and organization of activities including, but not limited to visas, flights, materials, venues, facilities, invitations, meals, accommodation, transportation, confirmations, and field trips; and
· When mandated to do so, represent RWI in meetings and events.
Knowledge, skills and experience:
· Advanced degree in relevant field (political science, law, public administration, development, economics etc.);
· Around 3 years of experience in managing development programs targeting civil society, parliaments and/or governments;
· Preference for knowledge of Mongolia's extractive sector, transparency context and development issues;
· Demonstrated project management skills and ability to manage several simultaneous projects in a fast-paced environment; and
· International experience is required.
· Ability to interact and coordinate with a variety of stakeholders and manage simultaneous projects in a fast-paced environment;
· Strong attention to detail;
· Excellent communication, writing and analytical skills;
· Demonstrated ability to learn quickly and to work independently;
· Integrity and professional discretion; and
· Fluency in Mongolian and English is required.
SALARY: Commensurate with experience (full-time position)
START DATE: December 1, 2013
LOCATION: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (with some international travel)
TO APPLY: Please send at your earliest convenience or by October 23, 2013, a cover letter, CV/resume, salary requirements and references to Mr. Galib Efendiev, Eurasia Regional Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please include in subject line: RWI/Mongolia Country Coordinator.
ETV will be Mongolia's official World Cup broadcaster
October 25 (UB Post) The FIFA World Cup will begin in Brazil in 237 days. Teams from 21 countries will participate and compete for the FIFA World Cup Trophy. The last 11 teams to qualify for the 20th FIFA World Cup will be known at the end of this month. As countries around the world prepare for the event, the Mongolian channel ETV-HD has signed an agreement to work with Daily Newspaper to be the nation's official broadcaster and news source for next year's World Cup .
Ts.Ekhbat, director of ETV: Mongolian publishing organizations working together is a great example of how to support intellectual property.
ETV was just one channel to be invited to broadcast the FIFA World Cup. We are planning to complete our agreement with publishing organizations next month. We've confirmed potential locations to screen the World Cup, and will decide on final locations at the end of November. We are also choosing our sponsors. We are working together with Mongolia's best sportscasters. The FIFA World Cup is the best competition with the best working group. The World Cup is one of the biggest content providers and FIFA wants to protect its intellectual property. We are working together with the Intellectual Property Office and Agency for Fair Competition and Consumer Rights. We are very pleased to be working together.
S.Gantogoo, president of Daily Newspaper Federation: Mongolian Daily Newspaper is officially publishing FIFA World Cup news.
-You signed an agreement with ETV channel cover the FIFA World Cup. What are you doing in the range of this agreement?
- We are really appreciate working together with ETV. There a few important reasons for working together. First, we are working in the scope of intellectual property rights. Before the television channels always held the rights to screen events, not newspaper agencies, but we will also be providing information about the World Cup. Now we can serve as the official publisher. Second, we always pay attention to football information for publishing. Because our readers are interested in football, we publish almost two or three pages. In addition, ETV-HD is planning to work next time with radio for the FIFA World Cup 2014 under the motto "Watch the FIFA World Cup Closely."
The first X Games take place in Mongolia
October 23 (UB Post) Last Saturday October 19, the first ever "X Games Mongolia" took place in the very heart of the capital city, Central Square.
As the popularity and variety of outdoor activities in community spaces around UB rose in big numbers this summer amongst the youth, organizers believed this was the perfect time to show their support and host competitions that included skateboarding, inline skating, BMX and trail bikes.
It was a prime location, set in front of the monuments of national heroes Chinggis Khaan and Damdin Sukhbaatar and the Government Palace. It was a typically grand, Mongolian blue sky day as a crowd gathered around specially designed ramps that around 55 competitors used to show off their skills as they competed for gold, silver and bronze medals in categories such as "Highest Jump" for all sports; a fun "Spin Race" for skateboarders, where they had to start by spinning themselves several times around their vertical boards before racing, spinning again and racing back; a "Speed Slalom" course for inline skaters; and "Street Freestyle" a timed competition across all sports, to name a few. Custom made trophies were awarded at the end of the day to the overall best entrant in each sport.
First place for skateboarding's Highest Ollie was earned by Erdenedalai Purev with a 62 cm jump. Odmandakh Bataa won the skateboarding Spin Race and the top three places for Best Skateboarding Street Style went to Erdenedalai Purev, Odmandakh Bataa, and Orgio.
As well as being an exciting event for all those competing, it was also educational for those watching, having never before seen BMX riders jumping from one platform to another on one wheel, skateboarders performing "kickflips", or skaters speeding up ramps to perform 360 degree spins. All these achievements and more are known as "tricks" and represent the "extreme" edge that moves these sports beyond their basic recreational capacity. The event was meant for the audience to be inspired by competitors and raise more interest in the featured sports.
Another highlight of the event was the introduction of a new electronic moped. Nikel Ganbaa built the machine and hopes to expand the industry in Mongolia.
During the X-Games competition the founder of Nikel Ganbaa, G.Dashnyam spoke to reporters.
-When did you make the electronic moped?
-Since 2010, Ariunskvh, Aldaraa, Khishgee, Gantugs and Monjig were making electronic mopeds and bicycles by hand. We had our own department and assembled mopeds and bicycles named "Zehilhaan" and "Zetro".
-How much is the moped and what is its top speed?
- We made two differed mopeds. One is a car battery-powered moped, and its high speed is 35 kilometers per hour. The other is named "Litvang" and its high speed is 50 kilometer an hour. Now they are a little bit expensive because we made all the parts by hand.
-Where will you sell the mopeds?
- We plan to present our mopeds to City Administrators. And we are also planning to include a "Support Manufacturers" project. If they support our production, we will prepare over winter and can start production in Spring. We proudly say it's better than Chinese-made mopeds. We them to meet international standards and can provide a longer warranty. The important thing is that people should understand it's handcrafted and made in Mongolia.
Organizing the event were local NGOs, Dagina Khot, Mongolian Extreme Games Club in collaboration with Mongolian Uukhai Skateboarding Association and was affiliated with the Capital City Art and Culture Authority.
X Games is an extreme sports event that started in 1995 in Rhode Island, USA, and is organized every year by the U.S. sports broadcaster ESPN. This year saw the global expansion of a six-event calendar held in three host cities: Barcelona, Spain; Munich, Germany; and Foz do Iguacu, Brazil. The event features competitions in sports such as Moto X Speed and Style, Skateboard Vert, Rally Car Lites, Mountain Bike Slope Style and BMX Downhill. The winter version of the games include Ski Big Air, Snowmobile Freestyle, Snowboard Super Pipe.
The weekend also included the "Bicycle Ulaanbaatar" parade, an event to promote a project to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. One part of the project is the construction of a bicycle road, a project that has been in discussion for some time, but still hasn't seen completion. The "Bicycle Ulaanbaatar" bicycle road project has been presented to the government. The range of the project includes the construct a 143.7 kilometer bicycle road and 99 bicycle parking locations. If this project is approved, construction will take place over three years. People supporting this project rode from Chinggis Square to East Four Road and from West Four Road back to Chinggis Square.
The path has been laid for future Mongolian X Games to grow in its level of competition, arena, audience and competitors. The event also has the potential to uncover the next Mongolian athlete to enter international championships around the world and become a sponsored professional. X Games will be held annually, and a winter X Games is presently under review.
78 kilograms of heroin bound for Mongolia seized in Malaysia
October 23 (UB Post) Three Mongolians were detained in Malaysia for attempting to transport heroin. B.Khaliun, one of people detained, was accused of trying to transport heroin to Mongolia. He has lived with his sister, B.Khulan, in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.
They are both married to African citizens believed to be drug traffickers. They were accused of transporting a drug called "Brand Goods" to foreign countries. Since last spring, Malaysian law enforcement has led an investigation on his activities, and 78 kilograms of heroin was reportedly found in his home in Malaysia.
His mother is also believed to be involved in their illegal operations. Their brother, B.Bilguun, and his wife were sentenced in Kazakhstan for selling drugs. Now, Chinese law enforcement wants to prosecute B.Khulan and her husband for alleged crimes in China.
The Last of the Nomads: Student Filmmaker Documents Changing Mongolian Lifestyle, Music
New Orleans, LA, October 29, 2013 (PRWEB) When Loyola University New Orleans senior music industry studies major Dimitri Staszewski began his academic career four years ago, he never imagined he would travel 7,000 miles across the globe on a quest to document the changing musical traditions of Mongolian herders. But the aspiring filmmaker recently spent four months traveling back and forth between Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar, and the Mongolian countryside filming and experiencing first-hand the culture he'd previously only read about.
His more than 20 hours of footage preserves examples of the music of one of the world's last surviving nomadic cultures and one of the largest nomadic populations in the world. More than half of the Mongolian population has already shifted away from traditionally nomadic lifestyles, according to Staszewski.
After a sophomore semester backpacking throughout the southwest United States, Staszewski began exploring the idea of how people not only choose to live, but do live, throughout the world. One year and hours of research later, the California native embarked on his journey to Mongolia. He set off with the idea to film a documentary about the disappearance of the country's traditional music of herders and the consequences for Mongolian culture as a whole.
"I realized that I wanted to document and help preserve music performed by herders and former herders because that is the cultural context from which all of the country's traditional music originated," Staszewski said. "Even Mongolians who live in the city will attest to the fact that, even though they are not herders, some part of the nomadic herder identity in the music resonates with them and speaks to their own sense of identity."
During his stay with a nomadic family in the Mongolian countryside, Staszewski spent time herding, sheep wrangling and interviewing the locals. The most memorable moments happened when he was recording their musical performances.
"I met a herder who, after an interview, invited me to record him singing to his herd. That performance ended up being one of the most inspiring moments I have been able to be part of, and I felt honored to be able to be the one there capturing it," Staszewski said.
Staszewski is currently back at Loyola and slowly editing the footage from his time abroad. His original notion of creating a documentary, however, has changed.
"It was impossible to capture everything I would want to include in a documentary, and I feel like that wouldn't accurately showcase everything I witnessed. Instead, I want to create an interactive book that would combine short ethnographic essays with footage of actual performances and stories about my experiences as a foreigner and film engineer."
Staszewski, who recently applied for a Fulbright Scholarship, hopes to return to Mongolia for another 10 months after graduation. While there, he would create an extensive online archive of performances and written narratives about Mongolian herders and former herders.
"My goal is to showcase a side of traditional Mongolian music that I feel is currently underrepresented," Staszewski said.
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