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UPDATED: 08:44, July 07, 2004
Russia, China to hold joint military exercise next year
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Russia and China agreed Tuesday to hold a joint military exercise next year, the first conducted by the two countries' since a joint naval exercise in 1999, a Chinesedelegation visiting Russia told Xinhua in an exclusive press statement.

However, the memorandum, signed by Russian Defense Minister Sergi Ivanov and General Guo Boxiong, vice-chairman of the CentralMilitary Commission of China, did not disclose the exact location,date or scale of the exercise.

The Chinese delegation, led by General Guo, said the exercise aims to confront current new challenges with joint efforts and safeguard world peace and that the two countries' general staffs will later discuss the scope of the operation.

Ivanov hailed the development of military cooperation with China during his talks with Guo, who arrived here Monday on a five-day official goodwill visit to Russia.

Relations between the Russian and Chinese military have enjoyedsmooth development and effective bilateral cooperation and exchanges have been achieved, Ivanov said.

Noting that Russia cherishes relations with China, Ivanov expressed a willingness to strengthen bilateral military cooperation within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and make it a key force in maintaining safety and stability in central Asia.

Guo said the China-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation has witnessed further development and bilateral political, economic and cultural cooperation has yielded fruitful results.

He pointed out that military relations between Russia and Chinaconstitute a key component of the bilateral partnership and the relationship between the two armies is developing on a healthy andstable path.

The China-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation plays an important role in safeguarding world peace, global security and stability, Guo said, expressing the hope that the two neighboring countries would make more efforts for the world's peace and development.

Guo's entourage includes senior officers of the Beijing Military Area Command, the Second Artillery Corps, the Chinese Navy and the Air Force.

The navies of China and Russia launched their first joint military exercise in October 1999 during the Russian fleet's visitto China.

Source: Xinhua

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