- Nice to see the warriors protecting Korean cyberspace’s freedom frontier have been hard at work.
- A 40-something Korean—who has spent the last 10 years as a student in the UK—is doing time is a prison in Iran for photographing Iranian military installations and other sensitive facilities. Iran sentenced the guy to seven years in the pen in September. Korean diplomats are trying to get him out of jail, but they don’t seem especially hopeful, and in fact seem rather flummoxed by the guy’s actions.
- If you’re a coffee nut, you’ll be happy to learn that should you ever get kidnapped to North Korea, there are apparently four good coffee houses in Pyongyang. I guess it’s only a matter of time before Pyongyang is overrun by coffee chains, too. I’m not one to rage against global capitalism, but I must confess, when I last visited the Forbidden City and found a Starbucks inside the complex itself, a little piece of me died. That said, it was middle of winter and cold as a witch’s tit out there, and I thanked God for the hot beverage.
- Mt. Seoraksan got its first snow.
- Korea’s building three more Aegis warships. Somewhere, there’s a Royal Navy admiral wondering what the hell happened.
Khaan Quest is an annual exercise hosted by the Mongolian Armed Forces with co-sponsorship alternating between the US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific and US Army Pacific. Approximately 1,000 troops from Mongolia, United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, India, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Tajikistan, United Kingdom and Vietnam took part in the exercise between 3 and 14 August 2013. This is a prime example of the Mongolian military benefiting from US military cooperation and support. The US has afforded Mongolian officers, citizens, and Foreign Service personnel the opportunity to attend military academic and training institutions across the US; engage in multiple training programs alongside US military personnel; and be given large amounts of technical support and upgrades. In the past, Mongolia’s military has been developed and maintained largely by either Soviet Russia or China. Mongolia does not wish to repeat this scenario for fear of over-reliance on its powerful neighbors, and their possible political and military coercion, so it looks to the US for support in developing Mongolia’s military. As Mongolia does not share a border with the US, and has no history of US interference, it can comfortably develop a bilateral alliance with the US. The Chinese government regards the US as “a potential foe” which is threatening to deploy an encirclement strategy connecting from Central Asia to Mongolia. Exercises such as Khaan Quest embody China’s perceived US encroachment in the region. Beijing cannot afford to overlook the importance of developing relations with Mongolia to counter what they perceive as a US encirclement strategy.