FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia - The multinational peacekeeping exercise Khaan Quest 2018 was officially brought to an end with the closing ceremony June 28.

The Mongolian Armed Forces successfully hosted 17 other nations, including the U.S., with approximately 3,000 participants over the past three weeks of training.

This year marks the 16th anniversary of the Khaan Quest training event.

The prime minister of Mongolia, Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, began the closing ceremony with his opening remarks.

"As the prime minister, I appraise the political importance of the Khaan Quest Exercise," he said. "It provides favorable conditions for the international military interoperability, deepens friendships and expands the foreign collaboration."

Next to speak was Brig. Gen. Mark Gillette, deputy director for strategic planning and policy, U.S. Pacific Command.

Gillette was a Defense Attaché-Mongolia 15 year's prior. He delivered his speech for the closing ceremony in English and translated it into Mongolian himself.

"It is truly my honor to be back here today for the culmination of an exceptional training event, preparing our military forces for international peacekeeping operations," he said.

To conclude the ceremony, platoons from participating nations marched around the parade field past the reviewing stand.

Directly following that, platoons marched behind distinguished visitors in a line of chairs for photos.

"Based upon a mutual respect for democratic principles, human rights, free markets and commitment to international rules, norms, and laws, the longstanding relationship between Mongolia and the United States is flourishing," said Gillette.

Participants of the exercise partook in various training lanes throughout the exercise, including counter-improvised explosive device, patrolling, tactical combat casualty care, distribution, crowd control, riverine operations and a Critical Enabler Capability Enhancement Exercise, all intended to train partner nations in peacekeeping capabilities while strengthening the bonds between partnering nations.

The main objective of Khaan Quest is to increase positive military-to-military relationships with common interests related to humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime security, counterterrorism, defense trade and security of global commons.

"Khaan Quest is one of the regions premiere peacekeeping exercises, involving 20 nations from around world with more nations seeking to participate each year, said Gillette. "This is a testament to the power of partnerships and to Mongolia's leadership in UN peacekeeping operations. Partnership plays a critical role in meeting global challenge, from maintaining peace to mitigating impacts of natural disasters. Together we can develop the partnerships necessary to extend security to all those in need."