North Korea
and Mongolia

A short introduction to relations between North Korea and Mongolia.

This past week marked the 70th anniversary of North Korea-Mongolia relations. On 15 October 1948 Mongolia was the second country to recognize the newly established Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, following the Soviet Union on 12 October of the same year.

The order by which foreign states recognized the DPRK is immortalized in the first numbers of diplomatic licenses plates. For instance, the plates of cars of the Russian Embassy start with 01, while those of the Mongolian Embassy start with 02. The People’s Republic of China, not founded until 1 October 1949, is therefore 10.

Since the foundation of the DPRK, North Korea and Mongolia have shared reasonably close ties. Mongolia provided aid to North Korea during the Korean War and trade ties within the socialist blog. Below is a friendship banner given on Liberation Day (15 August) 1952 by the South Pyong’an Province Minchong, the then precursor to the Socialist Youth League.

Today the two countries continue economic and political ties. Mongolia, as a friend of both the DPRK and United States, is sometimes considered a helpful intermediary in the peace process and a possible location for meetings between officials.

Mongolia and Korea also share some cultural and historic similarities due to a long history of interaction in East Asia. Mongolian armies invaded the Korean Peninsula in the 13th century, after which the Koryo Dynasty fell into the Mongolian sphere of influence until the late 14th century. During this period, Korean kings married Mongolian princesses and Mongolian military units used Koreas a jumping off point for the failed invasion of Japan.

Some Mongolian cultural traditions, such as horses raising and riding, remain on the island of Jeju in South Korea and some Mongolian words remain in the Jeju Dialect.

For a view of how Mongolia is seen in the DPRK today, see below for a short video on Mongolian history and culture from North Korean television.

Koryo Tours, of course, arranges group tours to North Korea and Mongolia, so that is something they also share in common! 😊

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