An engaged crowd attended a public forum on 19 March for the launch of the latest edition of the East Asia Forum Quarterly, ‘On the edge in Asia’, featuring the Foreign Minister of Mongolia, Luvsanvandan Bold. A panel of academic experts, comprised of Emeritus Professor Peter Drysdale, Professor Hugh White, Professor Li Narangoa and Professor Hyaeweol Choi, discussed with Minister Bold the challenges and opportunities Mongolia faces on the edge of Asia.
Minister Bold began by talking about Mongolia’s rich history, which in many ways shapes the way that the nation views the world. He argued that Mongolia’s imperial history allows it to understand and engage with many different cultures peacefully. Since the fall of communism, Mongolia has seen tremendous economic growth, which, Minister Bold suggested, can be linked to Mongolia’s decision to pursue political reform at the same time as economic reform. Mongolia’s status as a democratic country positioned between Russia and China allows it to play a constructive, mediating role in international relations, said Minister Bold.
Professor White picked up on the similarities between Australia and Mongolia as relatively small powers at the edge of Asia, arguing that Mongolia’s successful balance between its powerful neighbours Russia and China is an achievement Australia can learn from. Professor Narangoa argued that the Mongolian government’s ability to provide adequate social welfare programmes in health and education would be key to the success of its growth agenda; while Professor Choi discussed the resonances of Mongolian history in its relations on the Korean peninsular.
A full copy of the ‘On the edge in Asia’ issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly is available online.
This public forum was presented by the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research at Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.