Anti-terrorism has become an important mission of the Chinese army, as indicated by its high-profile participation in the ongoing joint military drill staged by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) nations, a military professor said Saturday.
China has sent an ever largest amount of personnel, a total of 1,600 officers and soldiers from land and air forces, to the war game that started in Chelyabinsk in Russia's Ural Mountainous region on Aug. 9.
Professor Ouyang Wei with the National Defense University told Xinhua in an exclusive interview China's participation in the "Peace Mission 2007" drill shows that taming terrorism has become an important mission of the Chinese army in an era when terrorism has posed a severe threat to all human beings.
According to the professor, 14,338 terror cases were reported in the world in 2006, up 29 percent from 2005, despite intensified international efforts in anti-terrorism.
He said China also faces severe challenges in anti-terrorism.
China is now under threat of terrorists, separatists and extremists, who often collude with foreign terror organizations, while it also has to crackdown on pirates and safeguard resources shipping channels that may affect the country's energy security, the professor said.
Threatened by terrorism attacks, many countries have come to realize military's unique role in fighting against terrorism. "Military participation has become a universal choice in the fight," Ouyang said. The US and Russia have made legal regulations to commit anti-terror tasks to their armed forces with a right of preemptive attack to terrorism.
More than 40 countries have established anti-terror special forces, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) has decided to run an anti-terrorism troop of 21,000 people, according to Ouyang.
"China is also a victim of terrorism," the professor said. "The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has shouldered important tasks in taming the three evil forces as well as safeguarding the country's sovereignty."
He said that striking modern terrorism is a task that needs international cooperation as no country can handle it singly.
China has participated in 18 bilateral or multilateral joint anti-terror drills with the SCO members since 2002 to explore measures in fighting terrorism.
The PLA has also joined Pakistan, India, Britain, France, and Australia in land exercises or maritime rescue drills.
"These military drills have not only strengthened cooperative abilities of each participant, but also deterred terrorism forces, " Ouyang said.
About 6,500 troops and 80 aircraft from the SCO members -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, have taken part in the joint drill, which is scheduled to move to Urumqi of China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region before it ends on Aug. 17.
(Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2007)