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Veterans Commemorate Wartime Friendship

Over 80 Chinese and former Soviet veterans reunited Wednesday in Beijing to commemorate their fighting together against Japanese invasive troops over 60 years ago.


This is one of a series of activities held recently in Beijing to commemorate the victory of China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.


Chen Haosu, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said the government of the former Soviet Union helped Chinese people fight against Japanese invasion even at the early stage of the war.


"Those supports included a large quantity of military equipment and materials, military staff training and dispatching experts as well as voluntary pilots to China," he said.


Statistic showed that a total of 3,665 soldiers of the former Soviet Union had been dispatched to join the war in China from 1937 to 1941, including 1,091 pilots. More than 200 of them died in China.


In 1931, Japan invaded and occupied northeast China. In 1937, the Japanese troops attacked Chinese forces at the Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge) southwest of Beijing, marking the start of Japan's full-scale invasion of China. 


Basil Ivanov, an 84-year-old veteran, said he still remembers vividly an attack on the Japanese troops that he joined on August 9, 1945.


"The Japanese soldiers at the sentries were all in sleep. Our troops crossed the Heilongjiang River and promptly took over the sentries," Ivanov said. "We won the battle without firing a shot."


On August 8, the Soviet Union declared war against Japan based on the Yalta Agreement and sent troops to northeast China, joining Chinese army's fight against Japan, which accelerated Japan's defeat.


"Friends from the former Soviet Union have offered Chinese people great help during the war against Japanese invasion, which we will never forget," Chen said.


(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2005)

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