ULAN BATOR - China's President Xi Jinping began a two-day trip to neighbouring Mongolia on Thursday – the first Chinese leader to visit in more than a decade – with trade high on the agenda against a backdrop of resource nationalism.
Mongolian Prime Minister Altanhuyag Norov welcomed President Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan at Ulan Bator's international airport, named for the Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan. “China and Mongolia are now standing at a new historical point in growing their relations,” Xi said that according to China's official news agency Xinhua.
Beijing needs natural resources from abroad to power its economy, the world's second largest, and the two countries share an extensive border and skyrocketing commercial links. China is the biggest investor in Mongolia, and also the largest market for its huge stocks of coal and copper.
Bilateral trade has soared to $6 billion in 2013 from just $324 million in 2002 and makes up more than half of Mongolia's total foreign trade, Xinhua said.