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Russian Defense Minister to Visit
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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov is scheduled to visit Beijing in early December to strengthen the strategic partnership and military cooperation between the two countries.


The news was revealed by Zhang Qinsheng, assistant chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), currently visiting Russia, China News Service reported.


Zhang heads the Chinese military organizing committee for the twin "Russia Year in China" and "China Year in Russia" cultural exchange festivals.


He said the precise timetable for a visit by the commander of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Masorin, who will lead a naval fleet to China, has not been decided yet. These visits will fall as part of the military programs contained within the "Russia Year in China."


Zhang said he is working with his Russian counterparts to finalize plans on eight cooperative military events to be held next year.


The activities will include a joint military drill in Russia under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a parachute show in Moscow, a performance by a PLA troupe and a road trip for journalists along the border of the two countries.


Zhang said the "national years" between China and Russia represent key decisions made by the leaders of the two countries to deepen the China-Russia strategic partnership.


Military exchanges will help the two armies modernize, conforming to the interests of the two peoples and conducive to both regional and global stability and peace, said Zhang.


China and Russia held joint military exercises last year, involving nearly 10,000 troops. They aimed to improve the armies' capabilities to combat new threats, deal with crises and organize coordinated actions in the backdrop of the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism. 


(China Daily October 19, 2006)

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