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First joint drill with Russia launched
By Sun Shangwu and Wu Zhiyi (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-19 05:47

Baluyevsky said the military drill does not mean the two giants intend to build a military bloc.

Liang told the press yesterday that the military drill will focus on strategic consultations, battle planning, transportation and deployment of troops and combat practices.

Earlier reports said Russia had sent military vessels and a group of long-haul aircraft to join the exercise. Hardware involved includes a large anti-submarine vessel, the Marshal Shaposhnikov, a large landing ship and a destroyer as well as Tu-95 strategic bombers, Tu-22M long-range bombers and Su-27SM fighter jets.

Defence ministers of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO), which groups Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as well as China and Russia, have been invited to observe the manoeuvres. While representatives of India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan - SCO observer countries - are also on the list of guests.

Both Liang and Baluyevsky paid tribute to the SCO, saying it has become an important element consolidating regional peace and security.

Liang said China and Russia must take practical measures to push defence and security co-operation with other members within the SCO framework to safeguard the safety and stability of the region.

Baluyevsky highlighted the importance of increasing anti-terrorism co-operation between SCO nations.

The war game shows the two countries' militaries are ready for a joint fight against international terrorists, national separatists and religious extremists, Xinhua yesterday quoted a senior diplomat from the Russian Embassy in China as saying.

"Let them have a look at our joint military exercises and think it over whether it is worth continuing their activities," said Sergey N Goncharov, charg d'affaires of the Russian Embassy in China.

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