November 30, 2018
Government House Conference Room
Dear (Vice Director of the Office of the NSC) Mr. Iderchuluun, Doctor Enkhbaigali, Doctor Lee, and to everyone from the National Security Council, Institute of Strategic Studies, and Naval Postgraduate School. Good morning.
It’s a privilege to be with you and have the opportunity to address such a distinguished group of policymakers and academics who dedicate countless hours to ensuring the security our two nations. This type of collaboration is an essential element of security cooperation between our two countries. As the United States and Mongolia embark on our “Expanded Comprehensive Partnership,” it is important that we put time and effort into exchanges like this—where so much of the important work on security policy is accomplished. I congratulate you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to do this.
Today’s closing ceremony is also a reminder that the work of security policy is never truly finished. We must continue to evolve and ensure that our nations—and regions—remain peaceful and secure. For America, our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region has never been stronger. As our President said, this is a region where “sovereign and independent nations, with diverse cultures and many different dreams, could prosper side-by-side, and thrive in freedom and peace.”
Our path to realizing this vision is to support nations throughout the Indo-Pacific—like Mongolia—so that they can all be sovereign, strong, and satellites to no country. Our vision is built on principles we share with Mongolia: insulating sovereign nations from external coercion; promoting market-based economics, sustainable private sector growth, open and transparent investment, fair and reciprocal trade, and supporting good governance and respect for individual rights.
We also believe that this vision is built on a clear record: the United States seeks partnership, not domination. As the first third neighbor, the United States has worked with Mongolia for more than thirty years, offering a steadfast alternative to influence defined by Mongolia’s geographic position.
As we deepen our commitment to the region and Mongolia, our support will only grow. In 2018, the United States will spend over half a billion dollars in security assistance in the region. This includes nearly $300 million in new funding to reinforce security cooperation, which has already resulted in direct increases for Mongolia. This spending will translate to significant support for developing Mongolia’s capacity to secure its sovereignty. It will be used for programs such as this week’s workshop, more opportunities for security officials like yourselves to train and study in the United States, as well as defense equipment.
Creating a peaceful and secure nation requires more than just military strength—it requires looking across society and the economy. A nation’s sovereignty depends on many factors. For this reason, when the United States talks about its vision for a peaceful and secure Indo-Pacific, we include substantial efforts to provide our partners with economic and good governance support, as well.
In 2017, the United States provided $1.7 billion in economic assistance to the region. We acknowledge that more is needed, and we can accomplish this by leading with the private sector. The U.S. private sector is far larger and growing, and no country has invested more in the Indo-Pacific than the United States. Private-sector investment focused by the market requires transparency and other best business practices, but comes without political strings attached.
Good governance is also essential for the Indo-Pacific to remain open, transparent, and rules-based. The United States supports regional platforms—such as the East Asia Forum—that offer the opportunity for advancing rules-based order, open commerce, peaceful dispute resolution, and upholding international law.
As Secretary of State Pompeo said recently, “We aspire to a regional order [of] independent nations that can defend their people and compete fairly in the international marketplace. We stand ready to enhance the security of our partners and to assist them in developing their economies and societies in ways that ensure human dignity… We will help keep their people free from coercion or great power domination.”
Mongolia is a key partner among the constellation of nations that the United States works with in the Indo-Pacific, and, as you have discussed this week, coercion can permeate many aspects of society. For that reason, the United States stands ready as the first third neighbor to help reinforce Mongolia’s economy, democracy, and security.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone from the Government of Mongolia for your continued work with us here at the U.S. Embassy and with the U.S. government in DC. Mongolia is an essential and valuable partner. I would also like to thank the group from the Naval Postgraduate School, who visited Mongolia and helped create this workshop.
I wish all of you the best in your future work, and I encourage the Institute of Strategic Studies and the Naval Postgraduate School to continue this partnership. This is a great opportunity for everyone here to make important professional relationships, and I hope that they will benefit you and our countries throughout your careers.
Good luck and safe travels.