ULAANBAATAR: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier highlighted the role of young people in enhancing relations with Mongolia on rounding off his two-day visit to the country on Thursday.
"We are aiming primarily to win over the younger generation to invest in these German-Mongolian relations," Steinmeier said in Ulaanbaatar.
Young Mongolians were interested in the energy transition,sustainable agriculture and tourism, and they also benefited from greater economic exchange, Steinmeier said.
The two countries signed a strategic partnership agreement on Wednesday, raising their 50-year diplomatic relations to a new level with a wide range of joint projects.
Many Mongolians studied and worked in formerly communist East Germany, and as many as 1% of the population of some 3.3 million speak German. Around 8,800 pupils are currently learning German at school.
On a visit to the Alexander von Humboldt School in Ulaanbaatar, Steinmeier and his wife Elke Büdenbender listened as pupils aged around 16 told them in fluent German of a trip to Germany last month.
"We learnt to swim, because we don't swim well. But we can ride very well," one boy said. And a girl told of a tasting in a chocolate museum. "Goodness, it was nice," she said. Some of these pupils will have had German at school for 12 years when they sit their final exams next year.
Many spoke of hopes for studying in Germany or taking a course there.One girl said: "We lack the necessary contacts," drawing a response from the German president: "We will have to think about that." - dpa