Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 1-With an eye on Russia, China and a horse, Pentagon chief visits Mongolia

Reuters | Ulaanbaatar | Updated: 08-08-2019 10:04 IST | Created: 08-08-2019 10:02 IST
UPDATE 1-With an eye on Russia, China and a horse, Pentagon chief visits Mongolia
Image Credit: Flickr

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper met senior Mongolian leaders on Thursday in a rare visit to the strategically important nation as the Pentagon seeks to implement its strategy of focusing on countering China and Russia. On a map, Mongolia, locked between Russia and China, best represents the Pentagon's priorities over the coming decades.

"It is my deep privilege to be here, to be with you and to have the opportunity to look at different ways we can further strengthen the ties between our two countries," Esper said before the start of his meeting with his Mongolian counterpart. The ceremonial highlight of the visit was when Esper was given a seven-year-old caramel-colored horse as a present. Esper named the horse Marshall after former U.S. Defense Secretary General George Marshall.

"He's happy, he likes his name," Esper, standing next to the horse, said. The horse will stay behind to be cared for in Mongolia, though Esper was given a framed photo of it. Esper, in return, gave the caretaker a blanket for the horse which is used by the U.S. Army Old Guard.

Esper's visit to Mongolia, on his first international trip since being confirmed as defense secretary, highlights the importance the country is seen as playing in the region. This is the first visit to the country by a defense secretary since 2014 when Chuck Hagel spent about four hours there. Esper spent a night in the capital, Ulan Bator.

Mongolia is eager for investment from the United States and other countries it considers "third neighbors" to help it reduce its economic dependence on China, through which most of its exports of cashmere and other goods move. Late last month, Mongolian President Battulga Khaltmaa visited Washington to meet with President Donald Trump.

"They have been a good ally that punches above its weight, and I think Secretary Esper wants to acknowledge (that) and see if there are ways to grow the partnership further," said a senior U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The official said that while this trip was not about promoting any specific initiative, the United States is keen to look at expanding ties, potentially in areas like military training, which could take advantage of Mongolia's cold weather.


Esper's trip to Mongolia comes at a particularly tense time in relations between the United States and China, which are locked into an escalating trade war.

Last year, the U.S. military put countering China and Russia at the center of a new national defense strategy, shifting priorities after more than a decade and a half of focusing on the fight against Islamist militants. Mongolia has been a consistent U.S. military partner, providing troops to U.S.-led missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it still has about 200 troops.

It also has a relationship with North Korea, something Washington could leverage as Trump seeks to revive stalled denuclearization talks with Pyongyang. The country is accessible by rail from North Korea. "Mongolia is not going to side entirely with anybody against anybody," said Abraham Denmark, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia.

"But they are looking to bolster their relationships with the United States because possibly they want American economic engagement and political engagement, but also because it gives them a bit more breathing space in their relations with Beijing and Moscow," Denmark said.



Canada’s COVID-19 pitfalls highlight need for integrated health information system

In the globalized world of today where outbreaks can spread far and wide within a matter of days, a global-level integrated health information system is ideal but Canadas provincial barriers show that the country lags much behind in deployi...

Pandemic must be impetus, not obstacle, for clean water access

To make matters worse, there are suspicions that the inadequacy of wastewater treatment methods in California, the rest of the USA, and indeed around the world may help to propagate the disease even more widely. ...

3D printing and the future of manufacturing post COVID-19

The on-demand, customizable, and localized manufacturing of product components facilitated by 3D printing has the potential to redefine manufacturing but there are certain technical, mechanical, and legal limitations that, unless ...

How UK’s 'best prepared' healthcare system failed to gauge COVID-19

The UK is proud of their public health system and its unlike any other country as around 90 percent of British public supports the founding principles of National Health Service. But without accurate data being available to stakeholders in ...


Latest News

Revival in Air Travel as Restart Feedback Survey Reveals Passengers are Ready to Fly

Study reveals that passengers are happy with safety measures undertaken at the airport Mumbai, Maharashtra, India NewsVoir GVK-led Mumbai International Airport managing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport CSMIA undertook a R...

UP: Cop donates blood for typhoid stricken teen girl's treatment

A constable came to the help of a 17-year-old girl suffering from typhoid, after her father apparently refused to donate her blood, a senior police officer said here on Monday. Shahjahanpur Superintendent of Police S Anand told PTI, On Sund...

India, Canada discuss ways to strengthen collaboration in science and tech

India and Canada discussed ways to ramp up cooperation in science and technology by strengthening existing international connections, sharing best practices, and initiating new collaborations between governments and institutions, a statemen...

Prof David Simchi-Levi at NITIE Webinar - Government should prioritize critical supply chains to apply stress-test

COVID 19 has caused unprecedented havoc in the world and disrupted lives, livelihood, business, enterprise, and economy. Supply chain disruption and inadequate response from the industry have been the causes of concern across the globe. On ...

Give Feedback