Mongolian visit on the horizon for Thein Sein

Mongolian visit on the horizon for Thein Sein

Burma’s President Thein Sein is scheduled to make an official state visit to Mongolia later this month, at the invitation of Mongolian President Taskhiagiin Elbegdorj.

The two presidents are expected to discuss bilateral relations and cooperation in industries such as mining, tourism and agriculture.

During the talks, Mongolian government officials are also expected to share their democratic experiences with Burmese counterparts, and advise the head of the former pariah state on participation in regional and international arenas, according to Mongolia’s state media. Like Thein Sein, Elbegdorj is known as a reformer and was one of the key leaders of the 1990 Mongolian democratic revolution that ended 70 years of communist rule. He also co-drafted the country’s 1992 constitution that guaranteed a free market economy.

Since President Elbegdorj’s visit to Burma in late 2013, many have speculated about the potential of positive relations between Naypyidaw and Ulaanbaatar, also known as Ulan Bator. Economists and political analysts alike have pointed to the similarities between Ulaanbaatar and Naypyidaw on issues such as democratic transitions, plentiful natural resources, and foreign affairs.

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Mongolia successfully transitioned to a functioning democracy in the 1990s, and has enjoyed significant economic growth and social stability since.

However, some argue that political and economic transitions are not as straightforward for Burma as they were in Mongolia, due to a much larger population, 60 million and 3 million respectively, and widespread ethnic conflict.

The visit will be the first time a head of state has travelled to Mongolia since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1956.

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