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3. Security Issues and the National Defense Concept

The national security concept of Mongolia changed dramatically after the end of the Cold War and the complete withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1992 from Mongolia's territory. While Mongolia used to serve as a buffer state between China and Russia during the Cold War, the Mongolians participated in the defense system of the Warsaw Pact States acting as the Eastern frontier, effectively shielding the former Soviet Union from direct contact with her estranged former comrade, the People's Republic of China. China was regarded the enemy, a threat not only to the USSR but also to Mongolia. It was the mission of the Mongolian army to build up armaments and the number of military personnel

to a level sufficient to carry out joint operations with the Soviet armed forces (p. 5)
in order to minimize the military threat from the south.

With the diminishing rôle of ideology and military power as a primary means of defining global and regional relations and the end of the Cold War one of the major blocs disappeared from the map and a major reason for a military build-up at the

crossroads of the political, economic and cultural interests of the regional countries and super powers, and at the junction of influence of the major world religions (p. 4)
ceased to exist. The former concept is now replaced by a strict neutral stance. In peacetime, Mongolia no longer permits the stationing of foreign troops in her territory and has written this new position into the new Constitution promulgated in 1992.

Due the dramatical changes of the external security environment Mongolia is now developing new approaches for her external relations and her national security. The first, most important factor is a balanced relationship with the two neighbours Russia and China which is ideally complemented by ``relying on a third force'' as this key orientation in the country's foreign policy is called.

This is on one hand made possible through the cessation of military confrontation between both neighbours as well as their refraining from striving for military influence in Mongolia. On the other hand, Mongolia is not only bound to seek influential partners in the Asia-Pacific region but is also determined to develope a strategy serving both the country as well as fostering regional security and stability.

Mongolia considers, however, the potential of internal instability in China and China's contradictions in dealing with some other countries as a cause of concern. Though political and territorial claims of China against Mongolia were settled long ago and China is now rapidly developing as an influential power in Asia due to her open door policy and economic growth, Mongolia does not see that there is no garantuee that

the future development of internal social, political and ethnic controversies will not lead to a situation similar to that in the former Soviet Union. (p. 21/22)

Mongolia signed treaties on friendly relations and cooperation with the Russian Federation in January 1993 and with China in April 1994. Both countries respect Mongolia's non-aligned, non-nuclear policy, and Mongolia hopes that the relations between Russia and China may further improve as it seen as eventually possible that a trilateral framework between Russia, China and Mongolia can be built.

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