Xinhua recently reported that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Mongolia as a step in the “Encirclement of China” strategy. Abe is the first Japanese Prime Minister to have visited Mongolia in seven years. Abe was expected to express a willingness to support the speeding-up of the Mongolian economy. Japan is also planning to speed up the negotiations on a free-trade agreement with Mongolia. Mongolia is a key exporter of coal. It currently exports 90 percent of its coal production to China. Mongolia is eager to expand its international coal market by building a railway that bypasses China. The country has high hopes that Japan can make a significant investment in this 1000-kilometer railway. Japan is also expected to cooperate with Mongolia in other areas like military and health. Abe visited Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia this January. The Indian Prime Minister is expected to visit Japan this May. The Japanese Foreign Minister also visited Australia in January.
Source: Xinhua, March 31, 2013