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Sino-Pakistani Joint Drill Concludes
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Chinese and Pakistani troops finished their eight-day anti-terrorism joint drill yesterday in the mountainous area of northern Pakistan's Abbottabad region.


The exercise, code-named "Friendship-2006," was described by Chinese military analysts as "showing China's determination in cooperating with other countries to cope with increasing non-traditional threats."


The "anti-terror operation in mountainous terrain," included command post exercises, and troop exercises involving raids, ambushes, searches and annihilation, according to a Xinhua report.


Both forces took part in special operations against isolated terrorists bases, using digital reconnaissance equipment and armed helicopters to smash their hideouts and their ammunition depots.


With the participation of hundreds of army officers and soldiers from both sides, the military exercise included two phases: weapons and expertise display, and the command and exercise of troops.


The operation has demonstrated the resolution of both countries in fighting against terrorism, and will help enhance communications and understanding between the two armies in anti-terror operations to safeguard regional peace and stability, said Lieutenant General Lu Dengming, who led the Chinese observation delegation.


Lieutenant General Tariq Majeed, head of the Pakistani observation delegation, was quoted by as saying the exercise proceeded well, that it was coordinated and conducted successful, and that both sides shared and benefited from the other’s skills and expertise.


The counter-terrorism maneuvers were held against the background that China is facing increasing non-traditional security threats, such as terrorism, according to Major General Peng Guangqian, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Military Studies.


The fight against terrorism can only be achieved through multi-national cooperation, said Peng, stating that China's military advocates "common security and mutual safety" through co-operation with armies of other countries.


The joint exercise does not target any third party and is not impairing the interests of other countries, he said.


The operation, held two weeks after President Hu Jintao's state visit to Pakistan, was part of celebrations for the 55th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Pakistani diplomatic relations.


It is the second time the two countries have conducted a joint exercise. In August 2004, China and Pakistan held an anti-terrorism military operation in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.


Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led fight against terrorism, is fighting against al-Qaida-linked militants hiding in areas bordering Afghanistan.


China has also waged strikes against the "three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism" posing a grave threat to peace, stability and security in its Northwestern areas, including Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan.


In recent years, China has increased cooperation with other countries in fighting against terrorism. Since 2002, it has held joint anti-terror exercises with members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, including Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.


(China Daily December 19, 2006)

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