Mongolia, U.S. to deepen cooperation on rare earths mining
Mongolia has extensive deposits of rare earths and copper, which are vital for high-tech applications including defense equipment and for President Joe Biden’s efforts to electrify the auto market to help stave off climate change.
Oyun-Erdene spoke to Reuters after he met Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday and agreed to sign an “Open Skies” civil aviation agreement, among pledges of further economic cooperation.
Cooperation with the United States, which he called Mongolia’s “important strategic third neighbor,” would be deepened under a memorandum of understanding signed in June between his country’s ministry of mining and heavy industry and the U.S. State Department, he said.
At the same time, Mongolia hopes to have good relations with its neighbor China, which controls most of the world’s rare earthdeposits.
Oyun-Erdene said his country was also in talks with Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk over possible investment and cooperation in the electric vehicle sector and space, but he would not meet the tech billionaire during this visit.
The politician called the United States Mongolia’s “guiding Polar Star for our democratic journey.”
The Biden administration has focused on developing its relationships with countries throughout Asia to counter China’s growing might and the so-called “no limits” partnership between Beijing and Moscow.