PM Lee Hsien Loong receives official welcome in Mongolia

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (right) inspects the honour guards with his Mongolian counterpart Jargaltulga Erdenebat. ST PHOTO: THAM YUEN-C
24 honour guards on horseback waiting in Chinggis Khaan Square in front of the State Palace. ST PHOTO: THAM YUEN-C
Honour guards stand at attention as the flags of Mongolia and Singapore flutter in the wind. ST PHOTO: THAM YUEN-C

ULAANBAATAR - The flags of Singapore and Mongolia fluttered in the wind at Chinggis Khaan Square on Thursday (July 14) as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong received a red carpet welcome to Mongolia.

Mr Lee, who is on the second day of his four-day visit to the country, was welcomed by Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat in a ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry.

Honour guards dressed in ceremonial uniform in the red and blue colours of the Mongolian flag, and wearing Duulga helmets, stood at attention in front of a monument to Genghis Khan, the founding father of the Mongol empire.

There were also honour guards dressed in the traditional soldier uniform, on horseback.

A military band played the anthems of both countries.

Some Singaporeans living in Mongolia turned up to welcome PM Lee and Mrs Lee and shouted: "We Love you Lee Hsien Loong!"

Later, Mr Lee inspected the honour guards and proceeded to the state palace where he met Mr Erdenebat, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and Speaker of Parliament Miyeegombo Enkhbold.

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Mr Lee and Mr Erdenebat witnessed the signing of an agreement on cooperation in the energy sector.

The memorandum of understanding between the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and the Energy Development Centre (EDC) of Mongolia, will see Singapore share its experience in the use of clean technology to produce energy, and the planning, management, storage, and distribution of energy and gas.

The SEC said in a press statement that it will work with the EDC on projects that will improve the delivery of energy to households and businesses in Mongolia, and reduce pollution from the burning of coal for heating. No projects have been identified yet.

Both sides will also explore opportunities for Singapore companies in the development of Mongolia's energy marke

Mr Lee will also be hosted to lunch by Mr Erdenebat.

Mr Lee's official visit to Mongolia is the first by a Singapore prime minister.

On Wednesday, he attended a reception in Ulaanbaatar and met Singaporeans living and working in Mongolia. About 20 Singaporeans live in Mongolia, most of whom are in teaching.

At the reception, Mr Lee said Singapore would like to increase its trade with Mongolia. The two-way trade is modest, totalling just $64 million last year.

While at the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, he will also attend the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit on Friday and Saturday.

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