After the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Emmanuel Macron will become the first French president to make an official trip to Mongolia, a landlocked country between China and Russia.
Mongolia is becoming increasingly dependent on China for trade, commerce and investment, and there are fears that the country is slowly moving towards a one-party dictatorship.
“Mongolia is a small island of democracy in a vast ocean of authoritarian regimes,” said Engebatu Tagochok of the New York-based Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC).
Tagochok says he is concerned about China’s crackdown on the large Mongolian minority living within its borders and reported the recent arrest of a dissident writer Lhamjab Borjigin.
Barjigin fled to Mongolia from Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of China, in an attempt to escape Chinese persecution.
Mongolia is a small country, a small island of democracy in an ocean of authoritarian regimes.
View by Engebat Togochok, director of the Southern Mongolia Center for Human Rights in New York
Engebatu told RFI that Chinese police crossed the border into Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar and arrested Barjiginand took him back to China.
China, he said, has deprived the Mongols of their traditional nomadic lifestyle for decades and even restricts the use of their language.
Engebatu hopes Macron will tell President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh that his government is “getting too close to China’s authoritarian regime and that as a result Mongolia risks losing allies in the free and democratic world.
French President Emmanuel Macron will visit the country on May 21 and 22 at the invitation of President Khuresukh Ukhnao. Il s’agit d’une visite historique, la première visite d’un président français en Mongolia
— La France en Mongolia 🇫🇷🇲🇳 (@France_Mongolie) May 16, 2023
His wish may be granted as Macron’s trip follows his visit to the G7 summit in Hiroshima, where seven of the world’s most industrialized nations are closing in on Russia and China, the two countries that surround Mongolia.
According to a French weekly Le PointCiting a source in Macron’s entourage, France sees this visit as an important “geostrategic” issue.
The source called Mongolia “a liberal governance model, holding elections … and seeking to diversify its partnerships to better deal with Russia and China.”
The presence of uranium
Perhaps more important than maintaining democratic relations between Russia and China is the availability of uranium in Mongolia.
Sebastien Suren, Ambassador of France to Mongolia, in an interview Diplomat, said that Mongolia is among the world’s leading countries in terms of uranium reserves. France, which belongs to the world’s leading producers of atomic energy, was ready to go further and support Mongolia.
When excavation begins, the uranium will be exported to one of the few facilities in the world that can produce fuel from the mineral, Suren said, adding that French companies were the only ones in the world capable of managing the nuclear fuel cycle, including handling waste and spent fuel. .
This meant that they would be an obvious choice to collaborate with. This could not only reduce Mongolia’s 90 percent dependence on coal, but also provide crucial fuel for France’s reactors.
On Sunday, Macron will fly to Ulaanbaatar to have dinner with Khurelsukh.
He will also visit the Genghis Khan Museum, dedicated to the great Mongol conqueror of the 13th century, which will donate part of its collection to the Nantes History Museum (France) for an exhibition scheduled for October.