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Chinese soldiers leave for military drill in Russia
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17:34, July 19, 2007

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The first batch of Chinese officers and soldiers have left China for Russia to attend a joint anti-terrorism drill held by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Officers and soldiers left from Korla railway station for Russia at 2:52 p.m. on Thursday, along with armaments needed for the drill.
The six member countries of SCO -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- will stage a joint anti-terrorism drill from Aug. 9 to 17.

The drill, dubbed "Peace Mission 2007", will be carried out in Chelyabinsk in Russia's Ural Mountainous region and in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

"They (the soldiers) will travel a total distance of 10,300 kilometers," said Qiu Yanhan, deputy commander of the Chinese troops taking part in the drill.

"This is the first time the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has sent so many soldiers and armaments to such a far away place," Qiu said.

On the train, reporters could see various vehicles and armaments including command cars and field emergency vehicles. All of them were labeled with signs of "Peace Mission 2007" in blue and China's national flag.

Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission said last week that the exercise was a good opportunity to enhance international cooperation on combating terrorism, separatism and extremism.

The exercise will help deepen relations between the militaries of SCO members and enhance cooperation on defense security, according to Guo.

A total of 1,600 soldiers from China's army and air force -- including airborne and logistic units -- will take part in the drill, according to the Ministry of Defense.

Source: Xinhua

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