Sh.Battsetseg: Indonesia competes with Mongolia in coal exportation
The first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Indonesia, Sh.Battsetseg, who was appointed in 2014, gave an interview about Mongolia and Indonesia relations and other related matters.
The Mongolian Embassy was established recently in Indonesia. You became the first ambassador of Mongolia to Indonesia. Can you share information about the structure and working conditions of the embassy?
We’re working with a heavy workload with few staff members since the embassy has been newly established. We have two diplomats, two technicians, and an accountant. We’ve been here for exactly seven months now. Seven months may seem insufficient for getting to know a country’s political, social, industrial and economic systems and situations, not to mention introducing our own country, but now that we reviewed these seven months, I can conclude that many things can be completed if everything is planned, managed, and executed well.
As soon as I arrived in Indonesia, I began checking on the location of the embassy and technical supplies, furnishing, and setting up the Mongolian flag. I worked extremely hard to complete the sorting of regulations and all required paper work within a month so that I could meet with various ministers and representatives and introduce myself as the Mongolian Ambassador, and inform as many people as possible about the opening of a Mongolian Embassy. I presented my letter of credence to the President of Indonesia, H.E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, on October 13, 2014, and got accredited on the same day.
Just recently, Mongolian Cultural Day events were organized in Surabaya and Jakarta. Can you elaborate on this?
In late February, the Mongolian Embassy in Indonesia and Honorary Consulate of Mongolia in Surabaya co-organized the Mongolian Cultural Day in Surabaya and Jakarta and held the official opening of the Mongolian Embassy. At the event held in Surayaba, local residents, business owners, and representatives of government and non-governmental organizations, as well as representatives from Honorary Consulates of several countries, participated in the event and got the opportunity to personally experience and find out about Mongolia’s history and culture.
Minister for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana S.Yambise, Minister of National Development Planning Andrinof A.Chaniago, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia A.M.Fahir attended the cultural event held in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. Representatives of the Indonesian government, agencies, businesses, and foreign diplomatic representatives in Indonesia actively joined the event. During the Mongolian Cultural Day, models from Mongol Costumes Center showcased several collections portraying how Mongolian traditional clothes have changed from Khunnu Empire until today. Indonesian and other foreign guests were introduced and Mongolian long-song singing, throat singing, and morin khuur performances were given. They seemed very interested in mimes, Mongolian folk dances, contortion, and shaman dances performed during the event. We showed them that a nation with an incredible history has incredible cultures. The Mongolian Cultural Day events organized for the official opening of the Mongolian Embassy were able to make significant contributions in introducing and increasing awareness of Mongolia’s history and culture in Indonesia.
How many Mongolians live in Indonesia?
Not many Mongolians live in Indonesia. Some 40 Mongolians have been officially registered at the embassy.
Can you briefly talk about the relationship between Mongolia and Indonesia? How are you contributing to these relations?
Mongolia and Indonesia established diplomatic relations on December 22, 1956. The President of Mongolia visited Indonesia in 1997, the Prime Minister in 2002, and the President of Indonesia made state visits in 2003 and 2012. Mongolian civil servants have been attending short-term training courses for information technology and meteorological information technology as part of Indonesia’s technical cooperation program. Since 2006, Indonesian soldiers and military officials have been partaking in King’s Quest, an international military field training organized in Mongolia. Mongolia hosted the Fifth ARF Peacekeeping Experts Meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum with Indonesia in Ulaanbaatar in 2012. Like so, Mongolia and Indonesia have done many things together.
The state visit of the President of Indonesia in 2012 ,usilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to Mongolia, made at the invitation of President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj, from September 5 to 7, 2012 contributed significantly to taking bilateral relations to a new and higher level. During the visit, the two presidents held productive and in-depth discussions in a cordial and friendly atmosphere. Besides covering a broad range of topics in all sectors, the Indonesian President had responded positively to Mongolia’s invitation to join the Asian Partnership Initiative for Democracy, initiated by the Presidents of Mongolia and South Korea in 2011.
From your perspective, in which sector can Mongolia and Indonesia further their relations?
Besides concentrating on expanding relations of the countries, an embassy works especially hard for improving relations in aspects of the economy, trade and investment. Mongolia is very interested in furthering mutually beneficial cooperation with Indonesia in mining, agriculture, small and medium-sized enterprises, and the tourism sector. Mongolia sees that Indonesia’s accumulated experience and practice will help Mongolia to resolve many issues, such as determining the correct route for developing the mining and natural resource sector, increasing the benefits of the economic and social development of Mongolia, reducing the negative effects of pollution on the environment, and providing the equitable distribution of profits generated by natural resources.
The main export products of Indonesia are coal and palm oil, which make up over 50 percent of Indonesia’s exports. Despite being ranked 13 in the world for its coal reserves, Indonesia is ranked fourth in the world for coal production, and outranked Australia in its coal export volume, becoming the leading country in the world for coal export. Seeing it from this aspect, Indonesia is definitely Mongolia’s competitor and strong rival for coal export. However, it would probably be more beneficial for both countries if we cooperate rather than compete, exchange experiences in this sector, and make technical innovations. Just like Mongolia, Indonesia has large gold and copper deposits that rank within the top five in the world.
You’ve also been the Permanent Representative of Mongolia to ASEAN. What have you done as the permanent representative?
The Mongolian Embassy in Jakarta is also a Representative’s Office of Mongolia to ASEAN. Mongolia joined the ARF Regional Forum of ASEAN, which is a multilateral mechanism for discussing the region’s political and security issues, in 1998, and joined the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia in July 2005. Presently, ASEAN covers 4.5 million square kilometers of territory and 590 million people, and is a region which produces GDP worth 1,282 billion USD and does sales of 1,400 billion USD. ASEAN operates free trade zones for its member countries. By 2020, ASEAN aims to create an integrated market with six countries. Free trade zones were established with China and South Korea in 2010, with Japan in 2012, and with Australia, New Zealand and India in 2011. Now, negotiations to open free trade zones with the European Union and the USA are being discussed. ASEAN countries agreed to ease visa regulations by introducing the ASEAN Schengen Visa.
It’s important for Mongolia to be a part of these discussions held by large countries with large markets. If we want to take big steps forward and join the big markets together with ASEAN countries, operations and activities for this sector should be intensified. Our representative office is working towards having the Secretary General of ASEAN visit Mongolia to expand cooperation with ASEAN.
Is it true that an International Women’s Forum will be organized in Jakarta in March at your initiative? Can you comment on this?
From my many years of experience, I believe that women and children’s rights and welfare issues should be raised during this forum. I developed my initiative to organize this forum and introduced it to female diplomats, as I believe that this sort of forum should be held every chance we can get. This forum has become a high-level meeting of international women. Women in the Indonesian House of People’s Representatives supported my initiative and the very first International Women’s Forum will be held on March 24, under topics “The Role of Women in the Democratic Process and Legislative Institutions”, “The Role of Women in Democratic and Smart Governments”, and “The Role of Women in Democracy and International Understanding”.
It was announced that this high level meeting organized at the initiative of the Mongolian Embassy will be organized annually. Currently, over one hundred women in total have been confirmed to participate in the International Women’s Forum, including five female MPs of the Mongolian Parliament, 20 female members of the Indonesian House of People’s Representatives, nine female foreign diplomatic representatives situated in Indonesia, and eight female ministers in the Indonesian government.
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