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PLA Group Ends US Military Drill Observations
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A Chinese military delegation has completed its three-day observation of US military exercises in Guam and hailed the event a "positive step" in bilateral military exchanges.


The opportunity allowed the Chinese side to gain a better understanding of the US army's military hardware and training level as well as its organizational and command capabilities, said Rear Admiral Zhang Leiyu, the head of the delegation.


It is the first time that China has been invited to observe a US-only exercise.


The drill, dubbed "Valiant Shield 2006," brought three aircraft carriers together in the Pacific for the first time since the Viet Nam War.


The Chinese officers visited air force and navy bases in Guam, camps of air force and coastal guards participating in the drill and also toured the USS Ronald Reagan, one of the three aircraft carriers.


China's presence at the drill is of military importance, but the political significance is greater, said Luo Yuan, a researcher on world military affairs with the Academy of Military Sciences of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).


"It shows that military exchanges between China and US are being accelerated," said Luo yesterday in an interview with China Daily.


(China Daily June 22, 2006)


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