Mongolian President Tsakhiagin Elbegdorja’s November 21-24 State visit to Vietnam is expected to consolidate and strengthen the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries, especially in security-defence, economics, trade, agriculture, culture and education.

It also aims to realise Mongolia’s foreign policy of expanding its relations with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries.

With the visit, which takes place at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, Mongolia has confirmed that it views Vietnam as one of its most important partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

Over many years the two countries have maintained visits between high-ranking leaders, ministries and agencies. Their security-defence cooperation has particularly progressed in recent years.

Vietnam and Mongolia signed their first trade agreement in 1958. In December 2012, the two sides officially recognised each other as full market economies. The mechanism of the Vietnam-Mongolia Inter-Governmental Committee has been maintained with its 15th meeting held in Hanoi in March this year.

However, two-way trade remains low with only 16.3 million USD in 2012, down 2.5 million USD from the previous year.

Bilateral educational, cultural and scientific cooperation has been implemented since the 1960s under an agreement signed between the two governments.

By 1990, Mongolia had trained 100 graduate and post-graduate scientific and technological officials for Vietnam.

The two sides also signed an agreement on educational cooperation for the 2013-2016 period, under which Vietnam will train 15 Mongolians and Mongolia will offer training to five Vietnamese each year.

At present, around 20 Vietnamese students are studying in Mongolia while more than 50 Mongolian students are in Vietnam.-VNA