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Sino-Singaporean joint exercise boosts military ties: Defense Ministry
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Chinese and Singaporean armed forces Wednesday concluded a joint training exercise, which, observing Chinese officers said, would deepen pragmatic cooperation between the two forces.

Aimed at improving counter-terrorism abilities, "Cooperation 2009" began at a People's Liberation Army (PLA) training base in Guilin, in the southwest Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Thursday.

At the final drill on Wednesday, 61 members from each side handled suspected "bombs" left by "international terrorists" in a simulated attack using radioactive contaminants, biological and chemical weapons on a world expo.

Medical teams rescued "civilian victims" of the terrorist attacks and cleaned up nuclear-contaminated areas around the expo venue.

The Chinese forces came from an anti-biochemical unit with the PLA's Guangzhou Military Command and their counterparts were from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives (CBRE) Defense Group with the 2nd People's Defense Force.

It was the joint operation between the two armies since the two countries' defense authorities signed the bilateral Agreement on Defense Exchanges and Security Cooperation in January last year in Beijing.

"During the training exercise, the officers and soldiers from both sides had close exchanges and observed each other's equipment and skills to fight terrorists, and the Singaporean soldiers' professionalism and capabilities impressed me a lot," Senior Colonel Luo Mingcan, Chinese chief director of the exercise, told Xinhua.

Major General Jia Xiaoning, deputy director of Defense Ministry's foreign affairs office, who observed the drill, said the SAF had gained rich experience in security against various threats for large events.

"Sharing radioactive, biological and chemical defense practices could greatly improve the military's ability to deal with more unconventional security threats," Jia said.

The PLA deployed an unprecedented 46,000 personnel, 63 vessels, 158 aircraft and surface-to-air missiles inside and around Beijing to safeguard the Olympic and Paralympic Games last year.

Major-General Qi Jianguo, assistant to the PLA Chief of General Staff, said the exercise would enhance mutual trust between the two armed forces and promote bilateral military relations.

Chief of Staff of the SAF Joint Chief Brigadier-General Chan Chun Sing said the exercise was also a cultural exchange between the two countries.

Chan hoped the SAF could have more opportunities for defense operation with the PLA.

Singaporean chief director of the exercise Col. Ng Soon Watt praised the PLA soldiers' performance, saying the SAF could learn a lot from the PLA's successful security operations for Beijing Olympic Games.

(Xinhua News Agency June 24, 2009)

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