Yesterday Korea, today Mongolia: China, India, Japan, their neighbors and the United States keep making new moves in Asia’s Game of Thrones. Mongolia and Japan are moving closer this week following recent announcements from Mongolian President Sukhbaatar Batbold. According to the Wall Street Journal, Batbold’s new plans to re-energize his country’s economy focus on improving ties with Japan, despite the fact that China (and Far Eastern Russia) are its closest neighbors. New plans include the creation of a free-trade agreement (Mongolia’s first), increased air links between the two countries, and the intensification of Japanese investment in Mongolian mines.Though these decisions are primarily driven by economics, there is something more serious at work here. Like its neighbors, Mongolia fears the influence of a growing and increasingly assertive China, and is now looking for opportunities to avoid too close a dependence on its massive neighbor to the south. While its landlocked nature rules out Mongolian participation in the sort of naval agreements seen in Japan, India or Australia, the Home of the Huns is nonetheless looking to make whatever connections it can to the wider world.Geography and economics will keep Mongolia out of any active anti-China alliance and rightly so, but moves to diversify its portfolio and keep Chinese influence within bounds make a lot of sense. Look for the Mongols to keep looking afield.Today’s Mongols aren’t quite as colorful or as alarming as their world-conquering ancestors, or as the Dothraki in HBO’s Game of Thrones modeled loosely on them, but they want their independence and they will do what they can to keep it green.
The Sons of the Great Khans in the Game of Thrones
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