- Hagel pushes US military ties with China's neighbour Mongolia
Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel Thursday endorsed stronger military ties with Mongolia as it seeks a US partnership as a counterweight to its powerful neighbours Russia and China. Hagel and his Mongolian counterpart Dashdemberel Bat-Erdene signed a "joint vision" statement in Ulan Bator calling for expanding military cooperation through joint training and assistance. The document is mostly symbolic but is likely to irritate Beijing, which has accused Washington of trying to hold back its rise by cultivating military ties with smaller Asian neighbours. "A strong US-Mongolia defence relationship is important as part of the American rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region," Hagel told a joint press conference, referring to a strategic "pivot" that China has eyed with concern.
- U.S. defense chief praises Mongolia, given horse during visit
By Phil Stewart ULAN BATOR (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel praised Mongolian troops and got a horse as a gift during a rare visit on Thursday to the landlocked nation strategically located between China and Russia that sits on vast quantities of untapped mineral wealth. Hagel was the first U.S. defense secretary to visit Mongolia since Donald Rumsfeld stopped there in 2005. "As one of the world's fastest growing economies, Mongolia has a growing stake in regional and global security," he said. Hagel was welcomed to the capital Ulan Bator according to custom, trying dried milk curd upon stepping off the plane at Chinggis Khaan International Airport, named after the country's warrior-emperor.
- In Mongolia, Hagel looks to bolster US military ties
Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel flew to Mongolia Thursday to endorse stronger military ties with a government eager for US partnership as a counterweight to its powerful neighbours, Russia and China. Hagel's trip to Mongolia, only the second by a US defence secretary and the first in nine years, will feature the signing of a "joint vision" statement between the two sides that calls for expanding military cooperation through joint training and assistance, US officials said. The visit came after a three-day swing through China that was marked by public clashes over Beijing's territorial disputes with its neighbours and its relations with North Korea. The mostly symbolic document to be signed in Ulan Bator is likely to irritate China, which has accused the Americans of seeking to hold back its rise by cultivating military ties with smaller Asian neighbours.
- Hagel seeks to increase ties with Mongolia
ULAN BATOR, Mongolia (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is seeking to bolster U.S. military relations with Mongolia as he wraps up 10-day trip to the Asia-Pacific.
- Hagel to tour China's new aircraft carrier
TOKYO (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to get a rare tour of China's first aircraft carrier Monday, becoming the first foreign visitor to go aboard the ship.
- Hagel: US strongly committed to protecting Japan
YOKOTA AIR FORCE BASE, Japan (AP) — Against the backdrop of Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimean region, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says a key message he will deliver to leaders in Tokyo this weekend is that the U.S. is strongly committed to protecting Japan's security.
- China to close nearly two thousand small coal mines
China will close 1,725 small-scale mines with a total capacity of 117.48 million tonnes in 2014 as part of its programme to phase out low-quality coal production, its energy administration said on Friday. Smog-hit China has been desperate to reduce coal consumption, a major source of pollutants, including hazardous airborne particulate matter in the country's cities. Beijing hopes to close old and depleting mines in the east and consolidate output in a series of "coal energy bases" in remote parts of the country, including the vast northwestern regions of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. The National Energy Administration said in a notice posted on its website (www.nea.gov.cn) that local governments must also encourage mergers and technological upgrades in a fragmented coal sector long plagued by poor safety standards.
- SKorea saves 3 NKorea sailors; 2 dead, 11 missing
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Rescuers recovered the bodies of two North Korean sailors, pulled three survivors and were searching for 11 others missing after their cargo ship sank off South Korea's coast early Friday, the coast guard said.
- Cargo ship sinks off South Korea, 11 North Korean crew missing
A Mongolian-flagged cargo ship has sunk off the southern coast of South Korea, with most of the 16 North Korean crew members on board missing, South Korean coast guard officials said on Friday. The Grand Fortune 1 was sailing from the Chongjin region on North Korea's east coast for a Chinese port carrying iron ore, said one official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The vessel sails regularly between North Korea and China, according to Reuters' ship tracking system. The rescued crew members were taken to a South Korean hospital for treatment, according to the coast guard.
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