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Military drills, a platform for exchanges between China and other countries:expert
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21:05, August 09, 2007

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"Military drills have served as a platform for China's military to increase exchanges and cooperation with its foreign counterparts," Major General Peng Guangqian, a researcher with the Academy of Military Science, told Xinhua.

"Such exchanges and cooperation are carried out by sending observers to each other's military drills or conducting joint drills," Peng said.

A total of 1,600 officers and soldiers from land and air forces of Chinese People's Liberation Army have arrived at Chelyabinsk, in Russia's Ural Mountainous region for a joint anti-terrorism drill of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The drill will be carried out from Aug. 9 to 17 in Chelyabinsk and in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

For the first time in its history, all the six member countries of the SCO -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- will stage the joint anti-terrorism drill, dubbed "Peace Mission 2007".

"The drill marks the military exchanges between China and foreign countries have reached a new level," he said, adding that the opening of China's military has involved army, navy and air services as well as command and technology sectors of the PLA.

Since 2000, the PLA has invited foreign military observers and military attaches to watch PLA's domestic military exercises for five times, which involved infantry, armored force, marine corps and other forces in various maneuvers.

"PLA's opening more military maneuvers to foreign militaries has shown a high degree of transparency," the general said.

The PLA has also sent observers to foreign military drills since 2001, including the Cobra Gold joint exercise of the United States and Thailand.

Meanwhile, China has participated in 18 bilateral or multilateral joint military exercises since 2002, respectively with SCO members, Pakistan, India, Britain, France, and Australia.

These military exercises featured anti-terrorism, anti-smuggling, anti-drug trafficking, seaborne rescue and several other unconventional security operations.

"By participating in these activities, the PLA has shown its opening and transparency and its ability to cooperate with foreign counterparts," said Peng, who has attended several military drills abroad on behalf of the PLA.

"The joint military drills will help strengthen mutual trust between China and foreign countries and help Chinese military forces learn from others' experience," Peng said.

"They will help to enhance friendship and cooperation between China and foreign countries," he added.

Source: Xinhua



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