Ulan Bator - Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao promised on Tuesday to provide economic help to Mongolia in the form of grants and loans, to help the neighboring country develop its mineral resources.
The new funds, involving 50 million yuan ($7.3 million) of assistance and millions of dollars in favorable buyer's credit, is set to help Mongolia with its mineral, communication and infrastructure projects.
At a joint conference with his Mongolian counterpart Sukhbaataryn Batbold, Wen said the two countries need to take substantive measures to strengthen cooperation in the above key fields.
He also pushed for the feasibility study of a free trade agreement (FTA) with Mongolia soon, proposing greater economic ties between the neighbors.
Similarly, the two leaders witnessed the signing of several agreements in the fields of energy resources, border management, education and customs cooperation.
Wen's two-day visit, the first by a Chinese premier in 16 years, came at a crucial time for Mongolia, where some of Asia's richest deposits of 80 minerals including coal, copper, iron ore and zinc remain largely unexploited due to the underdeveloped economy.
China's rapid economic growth has also inspired Mongolia's optimism in taking advantage of Chinese financial support to tap the mineral resources.
China is already Mongolia's biggest foreign investor and bilateral trade reached $2.4 billion last year, 50 times higher than the level in 1991 and accounting for 47.4 percent of Mongolia's total foreign trade.
Batbold said Mongolia is also preparing to receive 60 child victims of the April 14 Qinghai earthquake for recuperation.
On Wednesday, Wen is set to take part in the opening ceremony of the China-Mongolia trade cooperation forum, in which more than 200 Chinese companies are expected to attend.
Wen will also unveil a Chinese culture center in Ulan Bator, following his announcement of Beijing's offer of full scholarships for 2,000 Mongolian students to study in China in five years.
Premier Wen left Japan on Tuesday after meeting Japanese Emperor Akihito at the imperial palace, ending a three-day visit to Tokyo.
The two discussed bilateral relations and Wen said it is key for youths of the two countries to know about the history between the two countries.
The palace meeting was the Japanese emperor's second with Wen and his first with a top Chinese official since he met Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping last December.
Wen was earlier interviewed by Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
The premier will leave Mongolia for Myanmar on Wednesday, the last leg of his tour of four Asian nations.