The United States and Mongolia established diplomatic
relations on January 27, 1987, after a period of "mutual
flirtation" when negotiations were conducted in New York by the
two nations' UN missions. United States officials were primarily
interested in establishing ties because of Mongolia's strategic
and geographic position in the Sino-Soviet relationship.
Washington had considered establishing diplomatic relations in
the past, but it had deferred to the Guomindang (Kuomintang in
Wade-Giles), or Chinese Nationalist, government in Taiwan, which
still claimed Mongolia as part of China. In the early 1970s,
negotiations were reopened, and they were almost completed when
the proceedings were broken off by Mongolia because of problems
between the United States and the Soviet Union, including the
Second Indochina War (1963-75).
The establishment of Mongolian-United States relations
reflected improvements in the United States-Soviet relationship,
and it was consistent with Gorbachev's interest in dealing with
all states that have substantial interests in Asia. The United
States gained the diplomatic recognition of a strategically
located country in Asia. The new Mongolian-United States
relationship was assisted by the establishment of ties between
China and the United States. For Mongolia the new relationship
has given greater credibility to its political independence and
sovereign status and has increased its foreign policy options.
The United States embassy in Ulaanbaatar opened in April
1988. Because of continued inadequate facilities, however, the
ambassador to Mongolia was the only United States chief of
mission who was resident in Washington. By 1989 the ambassador
had traveled to Mongolia several times in the space of a year in
order to carry out state business.
Data as of June 1989