Japanese Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa and his Mongolian counterpart Luvsanvandan Bold signed a memorandum Wednesday to boost defense cooperation between their nations via subcabinet-level dialogue and other exchanges.
The memorandum, signed after the two defense ministers held talks in Ulan Bator, touched on exchanges between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and Mongolia’s military as well as reciprocal visits by the Ground Self-Defense Force chief of staff and Mongolia’s armed forces chief.
The memo says promoting ties between the countries’ defense authorities will contribute to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and the world, and also agreed to boost the exchange of views over security concerns and cooperation in U.N. peacekeeping operations.
Japan and Mongolia also agreed to actively take part in joint drills that their countries are hosting or supporting.
Japan aims to keep China, a growing military power, in check by deepening its ties with Mongolia, which is located between China and Russia, political observers said.
Tokyo is also pinning its hope on the exchange of information with Mongolia, which maintains friendly ties with North Korea, that can help resolve the issue of Pyongyang’s past abductions of Japanese citizens, they said.
The last time Japan’s defense minister visited Mongolia was in April 2006, when then Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga, a Cabinet member, visited.
The latest talks between the Japanese and Mongolian defense ministers took place in the year both countries are commemorating the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties.