WASHINGTON — The United States and Mongolia, one of Moscow's closest Asian allies, formally established diplomatic relations Tuesday for the first time.
With champagne toasts at a State Department ceremony, Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Mongolia's permanent representative to the United Nations, Gendengiin Nyamdoo, signed a memorandum of understanding establishing relations.
The move, coming two weeks after Moscow announced that it would withdraw up to 11,000 of its 75,000 troops in Mongolia, resulted from several months of talks between Nyamdoo and Vernon A. Walters, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
U.S. officials, who asked not to be identified, said that a reduction in Sino-Soviet tensions paved the way to U.S.-Mongolian relations. A speech in Vladivostok last July by Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, which signaled a strong interest in improved Moscow-Peking relations and included the plan to withdraw Soviet troops from Mongolia, was a major factor in the U.S.-Mongolian diplomatic initiative, they said.
Population 2 Million
The officials said Mongolia has been interested in ties with Washington for some time and that one round of talks in the 1970s was broken off without explanation by Mongolia when all but minor details had been settled.
Mongolia, nearly four times the area of California and with a population of about 2 million, was under Chinese control for hundreds of years until it achieved independence in 1921 with Soviet backing. Its Communist government has been closely aligned with Moscow.
Diplomats in Moscow said that the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and China had been a major factor leading to full U.S.-Mongolian relations.
Taiwan Maintained Claim
One said that Washington's relations with Taiwan, before the ground-breaking visits to China by Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and President Richard M. Nixon in the early 1970s, had prevented the establishment of relations with Mongolia.
The Taiwan government held that Mongolia, bounded to the north by the Soviet Union and to the south by China, was part of China and should fall legally under Taiwan's jurisdiction.