Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and his wife Peng Liyuan, right, are greeted by Mongolian Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag Friday. Pic: AP.

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping is courting public opinion in Mongolia, a country that has often been wary of domination by its massive southern neighbor.

Xi said in an address Friday at the Great Hural, Mongolia’s parliament, that China stood ready to share the benefits of its rapid economic rise and work with its neighbors for peace and stability.

Xi said earlier that China would always respect Mongolia’s independence, territorial integrity and right to make its own decisions.

Xi is the first Chinese head of state to visit Mongolia in 11 years, emphasizing growing ties between the two. Mongolians are looking to China to lift their ailing economy, although some fear being subsumed by China, whose size and population of 1.3 billion dwarf this landlocked nation of just 3 million.

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