Nuclear-weapon-free status provides external security

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Mongolia's declaration to the world that it will be a nuclear-weapon-free country. On the occasion of the anniversary, we spoke with J.Enkhsaikhan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and head of the Tsenkher Suld NGO.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Mongolia's declaration to the world that it will be a nuclear-weapon-free country. On the occasion of the anniversary, we spoke with J.Enkhsaikhan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and head of the Tsenkher Suld NGO. He stressed that during this period, the UN General Assembly and the five members of the Security Council (P5) were able to obtain political guarantees to confirm the status, which is a diplomatic victory for our country. Mongolia declared its nuclear-weapon-free status in 1992 at the United Nations. What is the reason for this declaration? The nuclear-weapon-free status was a historical fact for our country. As a Soviet ally during the Cold War, it had many military bases on its territory. At two Soviet bases, there were dual-use weapons, such as missiles and aircraft. In other words, it could be used for nuclear and conventional weapons. In addition, in 1969, Soviet-Chinese relations deteriorated due to an armed conflict over border disputes. At the time, the Soviets wanted to destroy China's nuclear facilities and weapons before it could gain power. The Russians have warned the Warsaw Pact countries and the United States about this. At the time, the United States warned the Soviet Union that if it used nuclear weapons against China, World War III would break out. Moreover, we later learned that the United States was targeting nuclear weapons in our country, where Soviet military bases were located. On the other hand, China's development of nuclear weapons was not within reach of Moscow. Later, if the problem had worsened, it would have happened in our territory. 1992 was the end of the Cold War, but we can't be the same. Therefore, as soon as the Soviet army withdrew from our territory, the first President, P. Ochirbat, declared a nuclear-weapon-free zone. How do you assess the importance of a nuclear-weapon-free zone now? This means that neither the United States, Russia nor China have any grounds to target nuclear weapons against our country. At the time, UN member states congratulated Mongolia, but the main thing we needed was a guarantee. Therefore, we have been very active in the past in seeking guarantees from the five nuclear-armed powers (P5). It is true that in the beginning they ignored our country. Being a small country, it was nothing compared to us. But a small country does not deny itself, but thinks big. That's why we clung to it for 25 years. So has it worked for 25 years? In 2012, we were able to secure our external security with five nuclear-armed powers. There was a Mongolian sitting on one side of the table and five powers sitting on the other side, recognizing the 2000 Law on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the international status of non-nuclear weapons. It also declared that it would not pressure Mongolia to accept any attempt to violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. P5 also reaffirmed its commitment to each other. Can you clarify its practical significance? NATO members Poland, the Czech Republic, and Armenia deploy nuclear weapons to protect themselves from missile attacks. There is also Japan. There is also a lot of misunderstanding in South Korea because of the THAAD system. So I promised not to involve Mongolia in such issues. This is a great promise given to us. On the other hand, we have an area of ​​1.5 million square kilometers. Russia and China need a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The United States is also suspected, so they made their own promises. In this way, no action that would affect international relations, especially the fundamental interests of these five powers in the region, will leave the territory of Mongolia. What was the timeline for raising the issue at the international level? When we launched this initiative, the Soviet Union had disintegrated, and Russia was focusing on improving its economic relations with Europe. What about Mongolia? It was a time when China was gradually gaining strength but not becoming stronger. So we used this opportunity to raise the issue with the United Nations. If I had asked the two neighbors, they would have kept their mouths shut, saying that this was a complex issue for their own benefit, that it needed to be studied, and why they were in such a hurry. It is impossible to say how much time would have been lost because of this. Every two years, the General Assembly discusses our issues and adopts resolutions. Is there really a need for such frequent discussions? There is a resolution of the General Assembly on "Mongolia's international security and nuclear-weapon-free status." The resolution is broader than the nuclear-weapon-free status and ensures the external security of our country in all respects. In the background, external security, such as Mongolia's independence, inviolability of borders, and territorial integrity.