BEIJING — Mongolian President Punsalmaagiyn Ochirbat arrived here Friday on a trip formally ending nearly three decades of Sino-Mongolian estrangement.
In the first round of talks, he and Chinese President Yang Shangkun praised a 1960 Sino-Mongolian treaty of friendship and mutual aid. Yang declared that the signing of that treaty three decades ago showed China's "sincere desire" to develop friendly relations with Mongolia, the official New China News Agency reported.
Ochirbat said Mongolia plans a "grand celebration" later this month to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the treaty, the news agency said.
Relations between the two neighbors deteriorated sharply within a few years after the 1960 treaty was signed, as tensions rose between the Soviet Union and China. A landlocked nation sandwiched between the Soviet Union and China, Mongolia was part of the Chinese empire during the Qing Dynasty, which fell in 1911. After 1921, when Mongolia became the world's second Communist state, it looked to Moscow to protect it from Chinese dominance. Ever since, its relations with Beijing have reflected swings in Sino-Soviet ties.
Improved Sino-Soviet relations after Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's trip to Beijing last year set the stage for Ochirbat's visit, the first Sino-Mongolian summit since 1962. The Soviet Union, which had maintained about 60,000 soldiers in Mongolia, has said it will withdraw the last of those troops by the end of 1992.
Before leaving the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator, Ochirbat said he expected to sign agreements on scientific and technological relations, health and the environment, as well as a document on the basic principles of relations between the two neighbors. He said that Mongolia and China "share no pending or disputive problems," according to a summary of his remarks by the New China News Agency.
Mongolia, which has a population of about 2 million, has made it clear in recent months that it hopes to expand economic ties to Japan, the United States and Western Europe. It is hampered in these efforts, however, by lack of ocean access. The Chinese city of Tianjin, southeast of Beijing, is the closest harbor to Mongolia. During Ochirbat's visit, the two sides are also expected to discuss greater Mongolian access to such port facilities.