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Joint navy drill to boost China-Russia military ties: senior Chinese officer

(Xinhua)

08:09, April 18, 2012

BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- An upcoming China-Russia maritime drill will further promote strategic coordination and mutual trust between the two militaries, a senior Chinese military official said Tuesday.

Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), made the remarks while discussing bilateral miliary ties and the imminent joint drill in a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Makarov.

The maneuver will take place on April 22-27 in the Yellow Sea near China's eastern coastal resort city of Qingdao.

Friendly military-to-military cooperation is an important aspect of the China-Russia strategic partnership, Chen said, adding the drill is the first of such moves by the two countries' navies.

Chen also said the drill would strengthen the naval forces' ability to jointly confront new regional threats and demonstrate their confidence to maintain peace and stability in the region and world.

Makarov, for his part, said Russia sees great importance in promoting cooperation between the two militaries and the naval exercise shows that bilateral strategic coordination is at a high level.

He also said lots of preparation has already been done by both sides, and Russia would like to work with China in ensuring that the drill is a success so as to make contributions to preserving security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

The two generals approved the program of the drill.

According to the introduction of an army general with the foreign affairs office of China's defense department, the drill will focus on joint maritime defense and protection of navigation. It will involve 16 vessels including destroyers, frigates, support and hospital ships, and two submarines.

Meanwhile, four warships from Russia's Pacific Fleet, as well as support vessels, warplanes, helicopters and naval infantry, left Vladivostok on Sunday for the exercise.

Since 2005, China and Russia have conducted several joint military exercises within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

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