U.S. Ties Worry Russia: Lavrov Calls for Ally to Clarify Its Allegiances

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jun.01 - 2024 11:33 AM CET

Photo: Hussein Eddeb / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Hussein Eddeb / Shutterstock.com
Lavrov urges Mongolia to choose sides amid growing U.S. ties, highlighting regional tensions.

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During a recent summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks stirred attention in China.

Chinese journalists from NetEase highlighted Lavrov’s pointed comments regarding Mongolia, a long-time observer of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), suggesting that Mongolia might be wavering in its allegiance amid growing ties with the United States.

Mongolia's Lingering Observer Status Raises Eyebrows

Mongolia has been an observer state of the SCO since 2004, yet it remains on the sidelines despite fulfilling all membership criteria.

Both Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly invited Ulaanbaatar to join as a full member, but Mongolia has consistently delayed its response.

Lavrov's recent statements suggest that Russia, China, and other SCO members are running out of patience.

"Sergey Lavrov indicated that Mongolia should decide on its future with the SCO," NetEase reported, reflecting the growing frustration within the organization over Mongolia's ambiguous stance.

Mongolia's Growing U.S. Ties

Lavrov's comments are particularly timely as Mongolia has been strengthening its ties with the United States, a development that has not gone unnoticed in Moscow.

Chinese analysts believe Lavrov's diplomatic instincts are signaling a potential shift in Mongolia’s foreign policy.

Recent agreements between Mongolia and the U.S., including a partnership on critical mineral resources, have raised concerns in Russia.

Lavrov’s subtle yet stern warning underscores the importance Russia places on Mongolia's geopolitical alignment. Russia's plans for the "Power of Siberia 2" gas pipeline, which would transit through Mongolia, hinge on stable and predictable relations with its neighbor.

The pipeline is a critical component of Russia’s strategy to supply energy to China and reduce dependence on Western markets.

"Mongolia must choose whether to align more closely with Russia and China or the United States," Lavrov implied, stressing the strategic significance of Mongolia's decision.

The future of Mongolia’s foreign policy remains uncertain. Will it maintain its observer status in the SCO, commit to full membership, or continue to deepen its ties with the United States?

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