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Chinese Delegation Impressed by US Military Exercises
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The US military exercises have deeply impressed the Chinese military officers and can open the way for further cooperation between the two armies, said the Chinese delegation on Friday.

Delegation members made the comment after observing large-scale US military exercises in Guam. It is the first time that Chinese military personnel have been invited to observe a war game solely conducted by the US Army.

The invitation came from the Commander of the US Pacific Command, Admiral William Fallon, on a visit to China in May that was aimed at improving defence contacts between the two often wary military powers.

The 10-member delegation, together with delegations from six other countries, observed the "Valiant Shield-06" exercises that started on June 16.

Six of the Chinese delegation members were officers from the Army, the Air Force and the Navy, including three generals, while the other four were diplomats and journalists.

Zhang Leiyu, head of the Chinese delegation, said the US Army made brief introductions during the exercises, and the two sides exchanged views.

"The visit helped the Chinese side obtain a better understanding of the US weapons, training skills and exercise arrangements," said Zhang, deputy chief of staff of the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The drill was a good platform for the two armed forces to communicate and learn from each other, Zhang said.

Xie Feng, an official with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the presidents of the two countries attach great importance to developing bilateral military relations.

Strengthening military exchanges and increasing mutual trust will help develop the relationship between the armed forces of the two countries, Xie said.

Tu Qiming, a senior colonel with the foreign affairs office of the Ministry of National Defense, said that observing each other's military exercises offers opportunities for face-to-face exchanges, and will help promote mutual understanding and friendship.

Ma Jian, a major general from the Headquarters of the General Staff of the PLA, said the drill demonstrated the strict and precise training of the US soldiers and officers.

In addition, the exercises of the US Army were closely connected with actual combat, said Zhou Guojian, an officer from the Nanjing Military Area Command of the PLA.

It was reported that three aircraft carrier fleets took part in the US exercises in Guam, involving a total of 30 warships, 280 aircraft and 22,000 service personnel.

In 2003 and 2005, China invited the US military personnel to observe exercises conducted by Chinese troops.

Senior Chinese officials like State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan also met with a delegation of the American Foreign Policy Council led by Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US armed forces, on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Tang stressed that China holds an "open" attitude towards military exchanges with the US, and is willing to promote bilateral defense and security cooperation.

(Xinhua News Agency June 24, 2006)

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