Why South Korea should stand up for Mongolians in China
March 9, 2021
The East Asia Forum published KEI Vice President Mark Tokola and intern Alexandra Langford’s op-ed calling for the South Korean government to be a more vocal advocate for ethnic Mongolians in China. Beijing’s recent push to enforce Mandarin Chinese as the language of instruction for key school subjects in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region sparked protests from China’s ethnic Mongolian community. In this environment, Mark Tokola and Alexandra Langford see an area where the South Korean government should play a bigger role. They point out that elevating the rights of ethnic Mongolians would bolster the Korean diaspora in China. In addition, this provides an opportunity for Seoul to bolster relations with Ulaanbaatar. This bilateral relationship offers South Korea an opportunity to more rapidly reduce its reliance on coal and mend relations with Pyongyang. Above all, this crisis is a moment for Seoul to reaffirm its commitments to human rights.
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