A total of 1,200 officers and soldiers from 21 nations around the world will take part in the annual Khaan Quest 2014 Multinational Exercise held in the Tavan Tolgoi (Five Hills) training region in Mongolia between June 20 to July 1, reports the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency.
The Khaan Quest exercise was first launched by the United States Army Pacific Command and the Mongolian Armed Forces back in 2002. It was originally a bilateral military exercise but became a multinational exercise in 2006. Most participants of the Khaan Quest are traditional allies or security partners of the United States, but China and Russia have attended as observers.
South Korea will deploy 34 marines and eight military representatives to join the multinational exercise, Yonhap said, adding that the Khaan Quest allows the South Korean military to learn new lessons through watching the tactics of its counterparts from around the world. During the annual drill, soldiers from the 21 nations learn how to carry out operations in conflict areas and provide humanitarian aid to people in need.
China is currently making its first appearance ever at the US-led RIMPAC, the world's largest multinational maritime military exercise, off Hawaii, and its People's Liberation Army will also play a part in this year's Khaan Quest, Yonhap said.
Due to Mongolia's proximity to China, many military experts previously considered the Khaan Quest exercise as part of the US strategy to contain Beijing. However, China's participation in this year's event indicates improving military ties between the two superpowers, Yonhap added.