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China-Russia Military Drill Significant for Both

The first ever joint China-Russia military exercise scheduled for later this year is a significant event in the relations between the two nations and two armies, said Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan on Friday.  

"The exercise will exert both immediate and far-reaching impacts," Cao told visiting Colonel General Yuri Baluyevsky, chief of general staff of the Russian armed forces, who is on his first trip abroad since he took up the post last July.


In recent years, China-Russia ties, including military ones, have been progressing smoothly, as evidenced by frequent high-level exchanges and fruitful cooperation in various fields, said Cao, also vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and state councilor.


Cao briefed Baluyevsky on China's Anti-Secession Law, which was approved by the National People's Congress on March 14. He also expressed appreciation for Russia's consistent adherence to the one-China principle.


In a Thursday meeting with Liang Guanglie, chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), Baluyevsky said Russia is against any secessionist activities of "Taiwan independence" in any form and will stick to the one-China policy.


Baluyevsky and Liang further discussed details of the joint military exercise.


The planned Russian and Chinese joint military exercise is not against any third country, Baluyevsky said. "It is a new way of cooperation between the two militaries, aimed at improving the training capabilities of the two militaries and boosting their cooperation."


Russia and China have agreed on the make-up of the troop, arms and equipment and military methods involved in the training.


"Russian paratroopers, marines and other forces will take part in the exercise," Baluyevsky said.


The message about China-Russia military exercise first came with a memorandum of understanding between Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov last July.


China and Russia publicized the planned military exercise on December 13, 2004 when Ivanov visited Beijing.


Russian and Chinese military leaders are expected to attend this exercise.


Later Friday, Baluyevsky was also received by Premier Wen Jiabao. Both agree that China-Russia relations are at the best ever stage as they have removed all possible obstacles to their relationship.


Baluyevsky left Beijing for Sanya, a seaside resort in southern Hainan Province, Friday afternoon.


(Xinhua News Agency March 19, 2005)

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