Mongolian call for climate talks 'well received'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 January, 2008, 12:00am

Mongolia's call for a Northeast Asian climate-change summit to fight environmental problems including sandstorms and desertification was well received by regional governments, the country's ambassador to Beijing said in Hong Kong yesterday.

Galsan Batsukh said that if countries including China, North and South Korea, Japan and Russia endorsed the proposal, it would be the first such high-level meeting in Northeast Asia.

Dr Batsukh said they had reacted 'positively' to the proposal from Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar in Bishkek, Tajikistan, in August, at the annual summit of the mutual-security Shanghai Co-operation Organisation.

He said Southeast Asian nations had opportunities to discuss environmental protection at forums such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum summit in Australia last autumn that focused on the fight against global warming.

'But when it comes to Northeast Asia, there hasn't been any high-level meeting on climate change yet,' Dr Batsukh said. 'I think this proposal has been accepted quite positively. All the countries have listened very attentively and they reacted very positively. But now the question is when it is to be held.'

He said Mongolia hoped the summit could be held this year or early next year but the timing remained to be seen given that the mainland was busy with the upcoming Olympic Games.

Mongolia and the Northeast Asian region had been troubled by environmental challenges, including sandstorms, drought and desertification, he said.

'Sometimes the sandstorms from the Gobi Desert reach South Korea and Beijing,' Dr Batsukh said.

He said Ulan Bator was co-operating with Beijing, with which it shares a 4,676km border, on fighting sandstorms and also working with provincial governments in areas such as Gansu province .

While describing bilateral co-operation on environmental protection as good, Dr Batsukh said a regional effort was needed to boost funding and unite the countries of the region so that they were all working towards the same green policy goals.

'Mongolia has natural resources to supply to China,' he said.

'It has huge deposits of coal and other energy resources which are open for China to invest in and bring contemporary technology into Mongolia, not only for the Mongolian market but also for exports to China.'

Dr Batsukh added that both sides were also developing renewable energy and Mongolia brought solar energy equipment from China.

Mongolia, a landlocked country between Russia and China, was one of the first countries to recognise the People's Republic of China after its establishment in 1949.

Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and China.