Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday announced that the U.S. and Mongolia will sign an “open skies” agreement, allowing for direct flights between the two countries. They are also discussing ways to enhance the mineral-rich Asian nation’s trade with American partners.
During a bilateral meeting with Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene, Vice President Harris praised Mongolia as a role model for the region.
“Mongolia has been a reliable democracy and friend in the Indo-Pacific for more than three decades, and the partnership between our countries has helped ensure stability and prosperity in the region,” she said.
Mongolia, a landlocked country located between Russia and China, is seeking to expand its trade and diversify its economy. The nation possesses rich reserves of minerals and rare-earth elements that are crucial for advanced technology applications in smartphones, automobiles, and other goods.
Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene announced that the U.S. and Mongolia will sign a “roadmap” for economic cooperation, which will play a significant role in expanding trade and attracting more U.S. investment. He highlighted Mongolia’s potential in copper production, stating that the country will soon become one of the world’s four largest copper producers.
The open-skies agreement is expected to promote tourism from the U.S. to Mongolia, starting in 2024.
Vice President Harris met with Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene while President Biden enjoys a weeklong vacation in Delaware. Despite her boss’s absence, she has maintained a busy schedule, including an interview with ABC News and visits to Florida and Wisconsin.
In the meeting, Vice President Harris assumed a head-of-state role and discussed foreign policy within the increasingly important Indo-Pacific region. She emphasized the importance of promoting an open, interconnected, prosperous, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific, as the United States is a proud Pacific power.
This meeting signifies the growing significance of Mongolia as a regional partner and the U.S. commitment to strengthening ties with countries in the Indo-Pacific.