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Military celebrates 50th anniversary of largest training base
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The Chinese military celebrated the 50th anniversary of its largest training base in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Thursday with the conclusion of a successful war game to test a newly developed system that collects real-time battle data.

"The new system could let us know the exact conditions our troops are under in combat, how much ammunition, water and food remain, and when we should support them with logistics," said Zhang Jixiang, vice commander of Zhurihe training base.

Construction of the Zhurihe Tactical Training Base began in 1957 to provide a place for tank divisions to undergo tactical training and went into service one year later.

Covering an area of 1,066 square kilometers - nearly equivalent to the land area of Hong Kong Special Administration Region but half of the United States' Fort Irwin - the Zhurihe base was rebuilt in 1997 to provide training troops with more than just accommodation and water.

The base remained an anonymous and mysterious place to the outside world before the People's Liberation Army (PLA) opened up a war game, dubbed "North Sword 0308", at the base to 27 foreign military observers on 25 August, 2003.

Zhurihe acts as a window through which the world can observe the progress of the PLA with more open days for foreign military observers and attaches.

"The base will not only be used to improve the army's battle effectiveness, but also used as a military lab for future war," said Zhang Jixiang, vice commander of Zhurihe training base.

"Thousands of new technical innovations will be tested here and new army tactics will be born following the war games carried out here," Zhang added.

(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2007)

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