30-day visa-free stay in Mongolia for S'poreans

Prime Minister Lee meeting Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj at the State Palace in Mongolia yesterday. Mr Lee was also hosted to lunch by his Mongolian counterpart Jargaltulga Erdenebat, during which they affirmed the warm and friendly ties betw
Prime Minister Lee meeting Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj at the State Palace in Mongolia yesterday. Mr Lee was also hosted to lunch by his Mongolian counterpart Jargaltulga Erdenebat, during which they affirmed the warm and friendly ties between the two countries.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Longer visa waiver period among issues of cooperation discussed during PM Lee's official visit

Singaporeans visiting Mongolia will soon be able to stay for up to 30 days without a visa. Currently, they can do so for only 14 days.

The visa waiver for a longer period was among the issues of cooperation discussed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Mongolian counterpart Jargaltulga Erdenebat yesterday, during a meeting at the State Palace in Ulaanbaatar.

Mongolian visitors to Singapore can stay up to 30 days without a visa.

People-to-people ties underpin the relationship between the two countries, said Mr Lee.

The meeting between the two leaders is the first since Mr Erdenebat was appointed prime minister last week, following his party's victory in parliamentary elections.

Mr Lee, who is on an official visit, was hosted to lunch by Mr Erdenebat, during which they affirmed the warm and friendly ties between the two countries.

Before lunch, Mr Lee met Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and newly elected Speaker of Parliament Miyeegombo Enkhbold.

Singapore and Mongolia commemorated 45 years of diplomatic relations last year. Congratulating Mr Erdenebat on his party's victory, Mr Lee said: "One of my goals in coming here is to explore what more we can do together and deepen our bilateral cooperation."

Mr Erdenebat, who had rolled out the red carpet for Mr Lee in a welcome ceremony earlier, spoke of potential areas of cooperation such as mining, construction and urban development.

He said he was familiar with Singapore, where he attended a leadership course in 2010, under the Singapore Cooperation Programme.

Describing the programme as an important pillar of bilateral cooperation, Mr Lee said: "I am pleased to note that Prime Minister Erdenebat himself had attended one of our leadership courses back in 2010. Once a 'Friend of Singapore', always a friend!"

Since 1992, more than 1,200 Mongolian officials have attended the programme's courses.

Mr Lee said there has also been cooperation between businesses, but "there is much more that we can do together".

Earlier, both men witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise and the Mongolian Energy Development Centre for Singapore to share its experience in energy management, such as using clean technology to produce energy.

Mongolia's winter can plunge to an average of 40 deg C below zero, and coal is used by many to stay warm.

Under the pact, both sides will work on projects to improve the delivery of energy to homes and businesses in Mongolia.

Mr Lee later visited Misheel Mega Mall, a joint venture between businessmen of both countries.

Singaporean Billy Lim, 56, one of the investors, said the mall, which provides all housing-related services, aims to capitalise on Mongolia's rapid urbanisation, which has moved almost half of its three million people from nomadic to city life in Ulaanbaatar.

Today, Mr Lee will attend the start of the two-day Asia-Europe Meeting summit in the Mongolian capital.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2016, with the headline '30-day visa-free stay in Mongolia for S'poreans'. Print Edition | Subscribe