Emmanuel Macron made a brief but symbolic visit to Mongolia on Sunday, the first by a French president to the country between China and Russia that has growing strategic interests in the West .
The French head of state is greeted by a traditional Mongolian guard of honor upon arrival in the capital Ulaanbaatar following the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
Macron at that time Attended a reception at Sukhbaatar Square with a huge statue of Mongolian revolutionary hero Dantin Sukhbaatar and a monument to Genghis Khan.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was the star guest at the G7, where he addressed Western allies as well as leaders of non-aligned countries such as Brazil and India.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, France has stepped up its diplomacy with countries that have not explicitly condemned Russia — Mongolia being one of them.
in Ulaanbaatar, Macron attended A state banquet is held at the Genghis Khan Museum, named after the 13th-century Mongol conqueror.
The institution will loan part of its collection to the Nantes History Museum in western France for an exhibition scheduled for October.
“The fact that Mongolia will be on the way back allows us to make this historic first (visit) and give it a special meaning,” an Elysee Palace source said.
The source added that Mongolia is looking to “diversify its partnerships to be stronger and able to deal with its big neighbors Russia and China”.
A source in the French presidency explained that Paris was seeking to “relax the restrictions imposed on Russia’s neighbours” and open up their options.
Mongolia could also be part of Europe’s efforts to diversify supply “to guarantee our energy sovereignty”, the source added.
The sprawling North Asian nation has been the subject of growing interest in the United States in recent years as part of a strategy to stem China’s rise.
86% of Mongolia’s total exports go to China, half of which is coal.
Mongolia has struggled with political instability since it enacted its first democratic constitution in 1992 after it emerged from Soviet rule.