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China, Mongolia agree to respect internal affairs amid language row

This supplied photo shows Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, and his Mongolian counterpart Tsend Munkh-Orgil in Ulaanbaatar on Sept. 15, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia/Kyodo)

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- China said Tuesday that Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Mongolian counterpart Tsend Munkh-Orgil have agreed that the two countries will not intervene in internal affairs with each other at their talks held the previous day.

    The agreement made at the foreign ministerial meeting in Ulaanbaatar came as China has been increasingly criticized for trying to replace the Mongolian language with Mandarin Chinese at some schools in China's northern Inner Mongolia region.

    Wang was quoted by the ministry as telling the Mongolian foreign minister that the two nations should "respect each other's national sovereignty" and "refrain from interfering in each other's internal affairs."

    Since September, China has been strengthening education in Mandarin at elementary and junior high schools in the Inner Mongolia region, prompting many ethnic students to boycott classes in opposition to Beijing's move.

    Also in Ulaanbaatar, hundreds of people staged protests on Monday on the occasion of Wang's visit, where they held up signs with a slogan saying the Mongolian language "should be protected."

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