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Joint drills vital for security

By Wang Haiyun | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-01 09:34

Joint drills vital for security

China began sending troops and armament to Russia on July 27 to take part in the China-Russia joint counter-terrorism exercise, code-named Peace Mission 2013. The drill, to start on Aug 3, comes on the heels of the Joint Sea 2013 drill between the People's Liberation Army Navy and Russia's Pacific Fleet and North Sea Fleet off the Russian port city of Vladivostok from July 5 to 12.

Since this is the first time China and Russia are holding two large-scale drills within a month, they have drawn international attention. The world community, however, has nothing to worry about because Peace Mission 2013 is a counter-terrorism drill and part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization framework, and China and Russia have been holding such exercises since 2005.

About 1,500 ground and air forces, including combat troops and logistics personnel will take part in Peace Mission 2013. The 20-day exercise in Chelyabinsk in Russia's Ural Mountains will be divided into three phases: troop deployment, planning operations and campaign exercises.

The increase in the number of China-Russia joint drills -given their background and meaning -is significant in the fight against terrorism. First, it shows the strengthening military cooperation between China and Russia, which in more ways than one is the two countries' response to the deteriorating security situations facing them. Peace Mission 2013 is expected to further consolidate the most important aspect of their bilateral relations, that is, military ties.

Joint military drills are also important to prepare Chinese and Russian forces to deal with the new challenges and threats in the fight against terrorists who target the SCO member states of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Holding joint drills will enable China and Russia to learn from each other, deepen mutual trust and boost each other's combat power.

Second, China-Russia joint drills have nothing to do with establishing "military alliances", which some Western politicians and observers wrongly allege is the case. In fact, leaders of both countries have declared explicitly that one of the guiding principles of China-Russia ties is non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-targeting of a third country.

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