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Chinese troops arrive in Russian base for joint drill
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17:22, July 31, 2007

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The first batch of Chinese troops arrived at a Russian military base on Tuesday for a joint anti-terrorism drill sponsored by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

"Six Chinese military transport planes landed at the Shagol airbase in the Chelyabinsk region on Tuesday, delivering 287 servicemen, military equipment and supplies," Interfax and Itar-Tass quoted Assistant to the Russian Exercise Coordinator Igor Konashenkov as saying.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops will be divided into two groups: 147 of them will be stationed at the Shagol airbase while the others would go to the Urals Chebarkul military camp.

The transporters took off from an airport in west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region early Tuesday and traveled for about four hours and covered a distance of 2,900 km before arriving at the drill venue.

The Russian-made Ilyushin IL-76 transporter, a major air transporter and in charge of airborne troops of the PLA, will be used as navigating planes for PLA fighters and bombers to arrive at the venue.

More soldiers and armaments will be transported from Xinjiang to the Russian base by two other air force units within days, while the main force of China's 1,600 troops already set off by train on July 19 from Xinjiang.

Four trains with Chinese personnel, armaments and military hardware were traveling across Russia on schedule, Konashenkov was quoted as saying.

Those trains will arrive at the Misyash station in the exercise area on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, he said.

Two Chinese army aviation units, consisting of 16 Mi-17 transportation helicopters and 16 Z-9 armed helicopters, are expected to arrive at the Shagol airbase Tuesday evening and on Wednesday respectively.

The "Peace Mission 2007" drill will be carried out in Chelyabinsk in Russia and in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, from Aug. 9 to 17.

The SCO members -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- will stage the joint anti-terrorism drill, which will involve 6,500 military personnel.

Source: Xinhua

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