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Defense Minister Visits Russian Weapon Show

Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan Friday visited an exhibition of Russian military equipment that had been used in the just-concluded China-Russia joint military exercises in east China's Shandong Peninsula and its adjoining sea area.

"All of them have performed very well (during the exercise)," said Cao, who is also vice chairman of the Central military Commission and a state councilor.

"What can we do with this 'expensive stuff', if it is not excellent enough," said Colonel General Vladimir Moltenskoi, deputy chief of Russia's Land Forces.

Cao boarded three Russian bombers and an IL-76 transporter and talked with the pilots in Russian.

"Is TU-160 larger than TU-95MC?" Cao questioned. "Yes. TU-160 is narrower and longer than TU-95MC," replied a Russian pilot.

Both TU-95MC and TU-160 are strategic bombers in the Russian arsenal.

An IL-78 aerial tanker pilot told the Chinese general that the giant plane has a crew of four to 13 and a gas pipe of over 20 meters, and it can feed three aircraft at a time more than 2,200 liters per minute.

Cao also showed great interest in A-50, a Russian-made early warning plane, which he had boarded in the past. Chinese personnel have had a good study of A-50 this time, he said.

While is exhibition is going on, the local people are allowed to board the warships of the Russian Pacific Fleet, which joined in the joint military drills during Aug. 18-25 and are now anchored at Qingdao Port in Shandong Province. 

The joint military exercises held by China and Russia constituted a good practice of the new concept of security advocated by China, said Cao at a press conference jointly held with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov after the conclusion of the exercises Thursday.

In recent years, China has been actively advocating and practicing a new concept of security focused on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation, said Cao.

China seeks comprehensive political, economic, military and social security for itself by dealing with both traditional and non-traditional security threats through diversified means, he said, and China's ultimate goal is common security of the international community.

"The first joint military exercises have helped promote mutual trust in the international military and security field, and constituted a good practice of the new concept of security advocated by China," said Cao.

Cao also said China attaches great importance to and actively participates in non-traditional security cooperation with other countries.

"China has conducted exchanges and cooperation in fighting terrorism with many countries," said Cao.

The Chinese military has actively participated in non-traditional security cooperation, including anti-terrorism, search-and-rescue, cracking down on pirates and drug production and trafficking, said Cao in response to a question on defense and security cooperation between China and other countries.

"China has also actively taken part in the peace-keeping mission of the United Nations," Cao added. "China will develop friendly cooperation with the militaries of all countries on the base of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence," Cao said.

Cao said China has strengthened bilateral or multi-lateral consultations and dialogue with relevant countries in the area of security and defense, which helps promote mutual trust, exchanges and coordination.

Also at the press conference, Ivanov said that Russia and China plan to hold more joint military exercises in the future to improve the combat skills and professional levels of their militaries.

Russia and China have no intention of establishing military alliance of any form. To maintain regional peace and stability is the common goal of the two countries as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said Ivanov.

"We have time and again stated that our joint military exercises are not targeted at any third party," Ivanov said. "In recent years Russia has taken part in quite a few multilateral and bilateral military exercises, why can't we have such maneuvers with our Chinese friends?"

Ivanov spoke highly of the joint military exercises, saying they "fully reflected and proved the maturity of Russia-China military cooperation, and raised such cooperation to a new level."

Ivanov also said the use of long-range strategic bombers in the Sino-Russian military exercises did not mean nuclear weapons would be used.

"Some people think to use long-range strategic bombers means to use nuclear weapons, this is not right," said Ivanov.

Ivanov make the remarks in response to a question on whether there was any need to use such weaponry as strategic bombers in the exercises aimed at fighting terrorism.

"The two militaries of Russia and China both attach great importance to military modernization, therefore, they agreed to use relatively advanced weaponry," said Ivanov.

The Tu-95MS and Tu-160 long-range strategic bombers can carry non-nuclear weapons and other sophisticated, high-grade precision weapons, which are quite suitable for fighting terrorism, Ivanov said.

The first Sino-Russian joint military exercises, dubbed "Peace Mission 2005", ended on Thursday in east China's Shandong Peninsula, with nearly 10,000 soldiers involved.

(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2005)

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