Diplomatic relations with Mongolia are flourishing, not least owing to the efforts of the hon. Gentleman, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on Mongolia, and his Mongolian counterpart, former Prime Minister Batbold, who I understand is in the Gallery today. I very much look forward to seeing him again on Thursday.
I visited Ulaanbaatar and the Oyu Tolgoi mine in the Gobi desert in July to promote our growing trade and investment relationship, as well as our bilateral co-operation on the environment, education, foreign policy and defence.
Does the Minister agree that the land of Genghis Khan is now a beacon of freedom and democracy in the region, and that its foreign policy of encouraging rapprochement between the two Koreas and developing diplomatic and economic third neighbours throughout the world beyond Russia and China is a good opportunity for the United Kingdom?
I understand that the hon. Gentleman recently visited Mongolia—his visit was probably more enjoyable than mine, with fewer diplomatic commitments than I have had recently. Yes, that is important. Mongolia has transformed over the past 30 years, and we want to play our part in continuing that transformation, not least because, as he knows, it is a small country by population between two giants in Russia and China, and very much sees its relationships with third countries, of which we are one of a number, as important.