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Chinese advance troop for anti-terror drill fly to Russia
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17:42, July 27, 2007

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An advance troop of China's People's Liberation Army flew to Russia on Friday for a joint anti-terrorism drill held by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The troop of 106 officers and soldiers was carried by an Ilyushin IL-76 transport aircraft and is expected to arrive at an airport in Chelyabinsk, in Russia's Ural Mountainous region.

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

The six member countries of the SCO -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- will stage the joint anti-terrorism drill from Aug. 9 to 17.

It will involve 6,000 military personnel, including 4,700 Russian soldiers and 36 aircraft.

The advance troop comprises seven units, including command and logistics corps, and its main task is to make preparations for the main force arrival at the drill region.

Ahead of the advance troop's arrival, the first group of the main force arrived at Manzhouli, a border city in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on Friday afternoon.

The group transferred to a Russian military train and entered Russian soil, the first time the PLA has entered Russia for a military exercise.

China's main force of 1,600 set off by train on Saturday, along with armaments needed for the drill, from Xinjiang and they passed through Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia covering a total distance of more than 5,300 kilometers.

It will take about another week for the main force to arrive at the drill region. Fuel, water, food and security will be provided by the Russian military.

The Chinese forces come from the army and air force, including airborne and logistic units, according to the Ministry of Defense.

The Chinese soldiers will travel a total distance of 10,300 kilometers.

"This is the first time the PLA has sent so many soldiers and armaments so far," said Qiu Yanhan, deputy commander of the Chinese contingent.

The exercise would help deepen relations between the militaries of SCO members and enhance cooperation in defense security, said Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission.

Source: Xinhua

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