By Mohamad Zreik
Special to the Beirut Times
Mongolia is the unique country in its geographical location linking China and Russia, which led to the creation of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor in June 2016. The relationship between the Chinese and Mongolian economies is reciprocal. In Chinese politics, Mongolia is a necessary and indispensable neighbor, because it is the vital path China takes to reach its economic partners.
China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor will bring benefit to all. It is a key part of the belt and road initiative. This corridor has a vital role to play in advancing the belt and road initiative. The Mongolian economy depends heavily on China's investment in the country. In 2017, the export and import movement in the two largest ports in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in northern China witnessed a new rise. In Ernhot, the largest rail port between the two countries, rail trade increased by 16 percent year-on-year to 11.2 million tons in 2017. In the same year, 570 trips were made on the China-Europe railways passing through Ernhot.
The goal of the belt and road initiative is mutual profit and China is certainly the first winner, but Mongolia will share this profit with China as well. The geographical location, import, and export between the two countries, and the relations between the two peoples are all factors that make Mongolia gain in this huge economic process.
The Mongolian people are horse-loving people, a country known for its large number of horses. Mongols without horses are like birds without wings. Despite the industrial and political revolution in the world, and despite the great economic growth witnessed by the Chinese neighbor, this did not affect the Mongolian culture. The cold weather did not affect the way pastoralists lived by raising horses, camels, goats, livestock and sheep in order to obtain milk, meat, and other livestock products.
The reading of Mongolian history indicates that this country has passed through periods of prosperity and has been an example of power and governance. The very cold weather indicates that the Mongolian people are adhering to their homeland despite difficult weather conditions and despite the threats of natural factors. This geopolitically large country with a small population is an important space in international relations, especially with the growing role of China and Russia, which will certainly strengthen the strategic position of this country.
The Mongolian economy is heavily dependent on livestock, and its number has increased considerably since the Soviet era because of the transfer of ownership to the people, but these large numbers cannot be borne by the state. “The government has failed to promote education and health care and veterinary care in pastoral communities, so there is no longer any incentive to stay in rural areas,” said Sarol Khuadu, an official at the Institute for Environmental Research in the Mongolian capital. The policy, which no longer places much emphasis on the countryside, has led to the transfer of large numbers of citizens to the capital and to engage in the world of money and business.
Unfortunately, the Mongolian government is not working seriously to help the rural population. The loans granted to them are of high interest and bad living conditions, in addition to the weather that adversely affects their businesses. In order to assist the poor and the rural population and in collaboration with national governments and humanitarian, development and scientific partners, FAO has developed an early warning approach by monitoring risk information systems and turning warnings into proactive actions.
Mongolia's strategic policy through the steppe program is largely in line with the belt and road initiative, which is a road linking Mongolia with China and Russia, and so Mongolia, the country known for its livestock breeding and geographical location are restoring its main role to link countries and strengthen economic ties through exchanges. The steppe road aims to boost Mongolia's economic standing and rail links with Russia and China and build an oil and gas pipeline. In 2014, during his historic visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping also raised the level of relations between the two countries to “comprehensive strategic partnership relations”. Since then, bilateral cooperation has begun to move faster.
China has never abandoned Mongolia; it is a country of great geographical value, the link between Asia and Europe, in addition to the important agricultural sector in Mongolia which benefits China, and the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, which has become an important part of the belt and road initiative.
The relationship between China and Mongolia today is an example of the relationship between two neighboring countries. Economic, cultural and tourism exchanges are important and increasing with time and the belt and road initiative has been established to promote this relationship. China is investing in some Mongolian border ports, and China is also determined to conduct a joint economic feasibility study on the Sino-Mongolian Free Trade Area.
 Mohamad Zreik is a PhD candidate at the School of Politics and International Studies (SPIS), Central China Normal University, Wuhan, Hubei, China. His research focuses on the One Belt One Road initiative and the Chinese presence in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon.