ULAN BATOR, July 14 (Xinhua)-- Mongolia is fully prepared for the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit to be held on July 15-16 in the capital of the landlocked East Asian nation.
Ulan Bator is determined to look its best to welcome some 5000 international guests for the summit. The streets have been tidied, and massive flower beds gleam downtown along with newly-built houses and renovated hotels.
Security is beefed up. Residents are encouraged to leave for a summer vacation in the countryside. Traffic is being strictly regulated with some roads closed. Major markets and shopping centers are expected to shut down during the summit.
"We are all excited that this international meeting will take place in Ulan Bator. Although it is causing some inconveniences to us, it is good for our country," said a local, Batdorj Namjil.
Tourists will hardly find any hotel downtown to stay overnight during the summit. Students who can speak foreign languages have been enlisted to work as guides and volunteers who can be easily identified by their uniforms, bright blue T-shirts.
The preparations have put pressure on Mongolia's economy that is experiencing its worst crisis since 2008, with loans largely granted to private contractors of construction projects intended for the summit.
Mongolia has received help from China in its efforts to make the summit a success. Donations from its next-door neighbor include equipment much needed for the summit and related training of personnel.
The country is trying to serve as a bridge connecting the East with the West, in the hope of hosting more international meetings and conferences ahead.