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PLA to Launch North Sword Military Exercise

China's armed forces will on Tuesday launch a military exercise codenamed "North Sword 2005" in a training base in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

About 40 military officers from 24 countries have been invited to observe the exercise at the Zhurihe training base, a tactical drill base in Inner Mongolia.

The exercise, which involves some 16,000 People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers and soldiers, is the biggest in terms of number of invited observers since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

China has participated in multilateral military exercises to broaden security cooperation with other countries since 2000.

These include:

-- November 2002, China

The PLA invited United States military personnel to view the "attack and strike" exercise by a motorized infantry brigade of the Nanjing Military Command.

-- October 10 to 11, 2002, China-Kyrgyzstan

The PLA and the armed forces of Kyrgyzstan held a joint anti-terror military exercise on their border. It was the first time China held a military maneuver with foreign military forces and also the first bilateral anti-terror exercise conducted by members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

-- August 6 to 12, 2003, SCO member nations

Armed forces from five SCO member countries including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan took part in a joint anti-terror exercise codenamed "Coalition 2003". It was the first exercise of its kind within the framework of the SCO and also the first time China participated in multi-country joint military maneuvers.

-- August 25, 2003, China

China, for the first time, invited 27 foreign military observers from 15 countries to observe military maneuvers at its largest tactical drill base in Inner Mongolia, aiming to introduce the capabilities of the Chinese armed forces to the world and strengthen cooperation with foreign armed forces.

-- October 22, 2003, China-Pakistan

Chinese and Pakistani naval forces conducted a joint search and rescue exercise off the coast of Shanghai in the East China Sea. It was the first time the Chinese navy held a joint exercise with a foreign counterpart since the founding of the People's Republic of China.

-- November 14, 2003, China-India

Chinese and Indian naval forces conducted a joint search and rescue exercise off the coast of Shanghai in the East China Sea, a first for both countries.

-- March 16, 2004, China-France

The Chinese navy held its first-ever maritime drill with its French counterpart, off the coast of east China's Qingdao city.

-- June 20, 2004, China-Britain

Chinese and British navies conducted joint maritime exercises for the first time, off the coast of East China's Qingdao city.

-- August 6, 2004, China-Pakistan

The PLA and the Armed Forces of Pakistan held an anti-terrorism exercise at Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, in northwest China's Uygur Autonomous Region, bordering Pakistan.

-- August 28, 2004, China-India

Chinese and Indian frontier troops held a joint mountaineering training exercise, the first of its kind between the two armed forces, in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

-- September 2, 2004, China

Some 50 servicemen from China and abroad observed an amphibian landing exercise in Shanwei in south China's Guangdong Province. The group consisted of military observers from France, Germany, Britain and Mexico.

-- September 25, 2004, China

About 60 military officers from 16 countries observed a practice with live ammunition codenamed "Iron Fist 2004" at the Queshan Training Base in central China's Henan Province.

-- October 2004, China-Australia

Chinese and Australian navies held joint maritime exercises off the coast of East China's Yellow Sea.

-- August 18-25, 2005, China-Russia

China and Russia held their first joint military exercises, codenamed Peace Mission 2005. The one-week long maneuvers, which involved 10,000 troops from the two countries, started in Vladivostok in Russia's Far East and later moved to east China's Shandong Peninsula.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2005)

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