The first Sino-Russian joint military exercises will uplift the relationship between China and Russia to a new level and strengthen mutual trust between the two countries, a senior diplomat of the Russian Embassy said Thursday in Beijing.
Sergey N. Goncharov, charge d'affaires of the Russian Embassy in China, said the joint military exercises will inaugurate a new stage of military cooperation between China and Russia.
The joint military drill began in Russia's Far East city of Vladivostok Thursday morning.
In an interview with Xinhua, Goncharov said the exercise is of great importance to the unity of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which groups China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Defense ministers and military experts of the SCO member nations, and their ambassadors and military attaches to China have been invited as observers to the exercise.
Representatives of Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran, which are observers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, are also invited to watch the military exercise.
"We hope similar exercises will be held within the SCO framework in the future," said Goncharov.
The joint military exercise, code-named Peace Mission 2005, is aimed to help Russian and Chinese armed forces get ready to make joint efforts to strike on international terrorists, national separatists and religious extremists, he said.
According to him, the forces of terrorism, extremism and separatism have conducted activities in both China and Russia, and have been growing in the SCO member countries.
"Let them have a look at our joint military exercises and think it over whether it is worth continuing their activities," said Goncharov, adding, "We hope the joint military exercises could help cool down the 'fervor' of these terrorists, separatists and extremists."
Among the 10,000 troops, including 2,000 from Russia, will participate in the maneuvers. "We don't rule out the possibility of having more troops in similar exercises in the future," he said.
Goncharov said all the Russian equipment and facilities used in the joint military exercises deserve their reputation of high quality.