The United States (US) and Mongolian governments are set to sign an Open Skies deal that could see direct flights between the two countries commence in 2024.
The Mongolian Prime Minister L. Oyun-Erden is currently in the US engaging in talks with the Vice-President Kamala Harris as the two countries look to strengthen ties.
Harris and Oyun-Erden made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, before starting discussions on a number of issues including Russia and China.
In January 2023, the US and Mongolia signed a Memorandum of Consultations (MOC) finalizing an Air Transport Agreement between the two states. It allows for “unrestricted capacity and frequency of services, open route rights, a liberal charter regime, and open code-sharing opportunities”.
The Agreement, which the Open Skies deal will build upon, commits both governments to high standards of aviation safety and security.
It has also been announced that direct flights between the two countries are planned to commence in 2024.
Currently, MIAT Mongolian Airlines, the nation’s flag carrier, flies to Europe and Asia but not the US.
Mongolia is heavily reliant on trade with China to its south and Russia to its north, but has looked to assert its independence by linking with countries such as the US and South Korea.
“The American people have a profound stake in the future of the Indo-Pacific. It is in our vital interest to promote an Indo-Pacific region that is open, interconnected, prosperous, secure and resilient,” Harris said.
The Mongolian Prime Minister hailed the US support for Mongolia’s thirty-year-old democracy, and highlighted areas such as the ‘green economy’ and the creative industries as providing the basis for enhanced co-operation in the years ahead.
“For us, the United States is not only our strategic third neighbor but also the guiding Polar Star on our democratic journey. I hope that history will record my visit this week as the start of a new chapter in our friendship and strategic partnership,” Oyun-Erden said.
Legislation was recently passed in Mongolia to make English the first foreign language in secondary education
During his trip to the US, Prime Minister Oyun-Erden will also meet with the deputy administrator of NASA and the executive secretary of the National Space Council to discuss how Mongolia and America could enhance their co-operation within the space sector.