Монголын Геополитикийн хүрээлэнгийн тайлбар:
Японы Kyodo News мэдээллийн сүлжээний ахлах редактор Масакацу Ота өнгөрсөн 4 дүгээр сард Монголд ирж цөмийн зэвсэггүй статусын төлөө “Цэнхэр сүлд” төрийн бус байгууллагын Ерөнхийлөгч, Монгол Улсын анхны Ерөнхийлөгч П.Очирбат болон тус байгууллагын Тэргүүн Ж.Энхсайхан нартай хийсэн уулзалтынхаа үр дүнгээр нийтлэл бичсэнийг зохиогчийн зөвшөөрлөөр нийтлэв.
Монголын Геополитикийн хүрээлэн нь “Цэнхэр сүлд” ТББ-тай нягт хамтран ажилладаг болно.
Nuclear shadow led Mongolia to forgo umbrella
Masakatsu Ota is a Senior and Editorial Writer at Kyodo News, a position he has held since April 2009. He reports on a variety of nuclear issues, …
It was an inevitable conclusion for Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat when he decided in the early 1990s to declare Mongolia a nuclear-weapon-free state. “A small nation sandwiched between two nuclear powers allowed one of them to station its military forces. As a result, Mongolia was exposed to undeniable nuclear threats,” the former Mongolian president said in a recent interview with Kyodo News, recalling nuclear threats his nation faced during the Cold War.
“If these nuclear powers were to fight, the situation could have deteriorated dramatically. It might have even led to possible use of nuclear weapons.”
The interview was conducted at his office at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, where pictures taken with Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Jiang Zemin and George H.W. Bush decorated one of the walls. Ochirbat, a mining specialist with a doctorate, has been teaching at the university since his retirement.
“In order to contribute to disarmament and trust in the (Asia-Pacific) region and the world over, Mongolia declares its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone and will work for having that status internationally guaranteed,” Ochirbat announced at the U.N. General Assembly on Sep. 25, 1992 as then president of Mongolia.
The declaration was the first ever in history to create a single state nuclear-weapon-free zone, known today as a state with unique “nuclear-weapon-free status.”
When President Ochirbat was addressing the General Assembly in New York, the last Russian troops were being withdrawn from his country. At the peak during the Cold War, the Soviet Union had 80,000 troops deployed in Mongolia.
The Soviet military also introduced nuclear-deliverable ballistic missiles, R-12, at two military bases in Mongolia — one in Dornogovi Province which borders with China and the other in Nalaiha, a suburban city near Ulan Bator.
The R-12 with a range of 2,100 kilometers was the same type of missile the Soviets had deployed in Cuba in 1962, which triggered the Cuban missile crisis.
According to a former senior official of Mongolia, the base in Dornogovi Province, located about 800 km from Beijing, was the closest missile base to the heart of China, then a potential enemy of the Soviet Union. It is not clear whether R-12s, which had nuclear-conventional dual capability, carried nuclear warheads or not.
However, the R-12 payload was large enough to equip a nuclear warhead with a yield of 1-2 megatons. An atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 had only about 15 kilotons, meaning the R-12 had more than 100 times the destructive power of the Hiroshima-type bomb.
But the Soviets did not share sensitive military information with the top level of the Mongolian government. “Soviet military information was strictly secret. I had no direct knowledge about what kind of Soviet military equipment was there and then withdrawn from Mongolia,” Ochirbat said.
Asked about comparisons between Mongolia and Japan, which allowed U.S. naval vessels with nuclear weapons into Japanese seaports during the Cold War, Ochirbat said the two countries were in a similar situation.
Both Mongolia and Japan relied on nuclear umbrellas provided by their respective allied powers — the Soviet Union and the United States.
A series of Japanese conservative governments gave the U.S. military tacit approval for naval nuclear operations even though they were never provided with specific information from the U.S. side. Since the 1950s until today, the U.S. military has maintained its unique policy-principle called “NCND (neither confirm nor deny)” for the existence of specific nuclear weapons on ships or aircraft.
Ochirbat can never forget a “nightmare” he experienced in the late 1960s — the border disputes between the Soviets and China which in 1969 led to direct military clashes of border troops and could have escalated into an all-out war.
“The military conflict could have involved Mongolia. In the worst-case scenario, the use of nuclear weapons would not have been excluded, I think,” Ochirbat emphasized.
Ochirbat considered the end of the Cold War a unique opportunity to modify Mongolian foreign and security policies. In 1992, he ordered Jargalsaikhan Enkhsaikhan, a veteran diplomat who later became his foreign policy and national security adviser, to organize the drafting of post-Cold War national security and foreign policy concepts.
Enkhsaikhan followed the axiom shared by President Ochirbat — “Any nation that allows allied forces to deploy nuclear weapons in its territory would automatically become a target of possible nuclear attacks by a potential enemy.”
Ochirbat and Enkhsaikhan also promoted a novel foreign policy paradigm — nuclear-weapon-free status for Mongolia — which was later backed by non-aligned states. Also, this new policy paradigm takes a neutral stance toward Russia and China.
“A nuclear weapon is an absolute evil,” Ochirbat said during the interview. “Would any nation attack Japan with nuclear weapons if it were not under a nuclear umbrella?” he continued.
Since the announcement at the United Nations in 1992, the Mongolian government has tried to obtain a legally binding pledge by the five nuclear weapon states, recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to respect Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status and not to contribute to any act that would violate it.
This diplomatic effort was spearheaded by Ambassador Enkhsaikhan who retired recently.
However, the nuclear weapon states have not yet provided legally binding guarantees to Mongolia. Instead they have so far made a political pledge only.
It seems that the main reason against providing a legally binding commitment is their concern that it would set a precedent of endorsing a single-state nuclear-free status that some others might wish to follow.
It seems that the United States is concerned that Mongolia’s case could prompt some of its allies under its nuclear umbrella to think of leaving the umbrella or at least outlawing nuclear weapons on their territory.
Being under a nuclear umbrella eventually means being under the constant shadow of a nuclear threat by a potential enemy.
Mongolia, which had decided to forgo an umbrella, does not feel targeted by any nuclear weapon state. Now it is working to strengthen its unique status and make itself a part of the East Asian security structure.