By DoD News
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erden for talks on the military-to-military relations between the two countries.
It was the first time a Mongolian prime minister has visited the Pentagon.
Mongolia is a nation surrounded by Russia to the north and China to the south. The prime minister referred to the United States as Mongolia’s “Third Neighbor.”
“I emphasize that the United States is not only our strategic third neighbor, but it is also our guiding pole star for Mongolia’s democratic journey,” Oyun-Erden said at the beginning of the Pentagon meeting.
Austin noted that the two countries share democratic values. “Today’s historic meeting underscores our deepening, our defense cooperation,” he said. “Our two democracies share a common vision for the Indo-Pacific region, and a fundamental desire for peace and stability.”
Mongolia deployed forces to assist in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they fought “shoulder-to-shoulder” with American forces. They also have a large footprint in U.N. Peacekeeping Missions. U.N. officials said there are currently 900 Mongolian service members involved in missions. “Mongolia provides an outsized impact on global peace and security,” said Michael S. Chase, deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, Taiwan and Mongolia. “It is an example of how a country can use a well-resourced military to carry out critical U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world, as well as strengthen its own democratic resiliency.”
The joint operations are the foundation for the U.S.-Mongolian partnership and that strengthens both countries. “It helps us tackle the full range of today’s security challenges,” Austin said. “I look forward to talking with you about regional security issues.”
Austin said the Pentagon meeting is a symbol of the deepening U.S.-Mongolia defense relationship. “And so are the 20 joint light tactical vehicles that Mongolia will be receiving from the United States to support your important U.N. peacekeeping mission,” he said.
DOD personnel participate in Mongolia’s annual Khaan Quest peacekeeping exercise hosted by the Mongolian Armed Forces. “DOD’s support and participation in this exercise … is another sign of the value we place in our shared vision for U.N. peacekeeping, and the bright future of working with Mongolia to promote peace and stability around the world,” Chase said.