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4,000 foreigners trained in Chinese military academy
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More than 4,000 foreigners have been trained in the University of National Defense, the top military academy of China, over the past five decades, a university officer said on Tuesday.

"The university has become a window for foreign exchanges for the People's Liberation Army (PLA)," said Ji Mingkui, deputy director of education management.

He said the foreign students came from more than 120 countries and regions, and some of them have become leaders of their armies or countries.

Ji made the remarks on the sideline of a military exercise code-named "Vanguard-2008", which opened partly to 179 foreign students studying at Chinese military academies. Among the students, 97 are from Ji's university.

"It is part of our teaching program to observe the exercise. The foreign students will hold discussions on different subjects once they go back to campus. They will also submit a report on the exercise," said Lu Guozhong, who is in charge of education of foreign students in the university.

Maj Zahid Hamid Kiani, group captain of Pakistani air force, has been to China for quite a few times. However, it was his first time to watch a PLA exercise.

"The exercise is a comprehensive project. We see it was perfectly managed, perfectly designed and perfectly implemented. We read books, we study at classroom, but it is not comparable to be here to see what I have seen," he said.

The week-long exercise was performed by a 2,200-strong armored brigade from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Jinan Military Area Command, whose armaments are said to be among the best in the PLA land forces.

Armed with equipment including armored cars, armed helicopters and transport helicopters, the brigade fought fictitious "Blue Army" targets on a mountainous island with live ammunition.

The 179 foreigners, from 67 countries, are mostly first year students at the Beijing-based University of National Defense and the Nanjing Army Command College in eastern Jiangsu Province.

It is the largest group of foreign military students to observe a military exercise of the PLA.

(Xinhua News Agency October 29, 2008)

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