Somebody should have looked at a map.... The US State Department with great fanfare on Tuesday signed an agreement with landlocked Mongolia that will allow Mongolian ships to be boarded and searched if they are suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction.
This despite the fact that Mongolia, a vast land that's home to the Gobi Desert, windswept steppes and largely populated by nomadic yak herders, has no navy at all and lies thousands of kilometres from open waters.
Still, its tiny merchant marine is recognized as one of 32 "flag of convenience" countries by international maritime authorities.
The U.S.-Mongolia shipboarding pact, the eighth signed between the United States and usually coastal or island countries, is designed to cover those Mongolian-flagged ships in international waters that might be used by other countries, notably North Korea, to disguise cargos of illegal weaponry, U.S. officials said.