VP in Asia: Highlights from Mongolia
04:43 PM EST
Arriving at Ulaanbaatar’s Chinggis Khaan Airport on Monday, Vice President Biden was formally welcomed to Mongolia – the second country on his trip through Asia – by Prime Minster Sukhabaatar Batbold and the sounds of a 32-person honor guard.
From there, it was off to the Government House, set on Ulaanbaatar’s central Sukhbaatar Square, for meetings with Prime Minister Batbold and President Tsakhia Elbegdorj.
Speaking after his meeting with Prime Minister Batbold, Vice President Biden praised Mongolia’s 22 years of democracy. “Mongolia is not just a shining example for other nations in transition,” said the Vice President, “it’s an emerging leader in the worldwide democratic movement, a responsible actor on the world stage, and a close friend and partner of the United States.”
Vice President also thanked Mongolians for their contributions to international peace and security. Over the past decade, Mongolia’s army, trained as peacekeepers, has been deployed to countries around the world, including Sierra Leone, Chad, Darfur, Kosovo and Western Sahara, as well as tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Before his meeting with President Elbegdorj, Vice President Biden paid a visit to the President’s ceremonial ger – a traditional tent still used by nomadic Mongolians – set up on the fifth floor of the Government House.
After a morning of official business came the ultimate Mongolian cultural experience – a mini-Naadam festival in a field just outside of Ulaanbaatar at the foot of rolling hills encircling the capitol city. Naadams – traditional Mongolian festivals held throughout the country during the summertime – showcase the “Three Games of Men”: Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. The Naadam for Vice President Biden also included traditional music and dance performances, as well as the ceremonial presentation of a gift horse, which the Vice President named Celtic.
For more information about the Vice President's trip to Asia, check out our photo galleries from China and Mongolia and watch his first travelogue from the road. You can follow the Vice President's trip in real time on Twitter, #VPinAsia