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China, Malaysia hold first ever joint live-troop drill to boost defense ties

By Liang Jun (People's Daily Online)    10:12, September 17, 2015
China, Malaysia hold first ever joint live-troop drill to boost defense ties
China's navy fleet departs from Sanya, southern China's Hainan province on Sept. 12. (Xinhua Photo)

China and Malaysia will hold a joint military exercise from Sept. 17 to Sept. 22 in the Malacca Strait and its surrounding area. This is the first joint live-troop exercise between the two armed forces, according to the China News Service on Thursday.

Codenamed "Peace and Friendship 2015", the drill will include joint escort, joint search and rescue, saving hijacked vessels, use of weapon, humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

A total of 1,160 Chinese troops, two Chinese destroyer-frigates, one hospital ship, four transportation aircraft and three shipboard helicopters will be involved in the exercise.

The two sides will set up a joint command post to coordinate the air, land and sea forces.

The military drill aims to cement the all-round strategic partnership between the two countries, enhance bilateral military exchanges, improve capabilities to address security threats, and jointly safeguard regional maritime security.

Military expert Li Jie said cooperation of armed forces in anti-pirates and humanitarian relief has great practical significance and it is also a trend of military drill in the future.

In recent years, China and Malaysia have gradually strengthened military cooperation and the drill shows their common desire to enhance cooperation between the two countries and the two armed forces, which will be beneficial to boost strategically mutual trust, said navy expert Zhang Junshe.

China and Malaysia held first defense and security consultation in Sept. 2012 and the two sides conducted its first ever bilateral military exercise in December 2014, dubbed "Peace and Friendship 2014".

The six-day joint live-troop drill to be held on Thursday is a historic breakthrough between the two armed forces. It is also the largest bilateral military drill which has ever been held between China and an ASEAN country.

Malaysia is now China's largest trade partner among the ASEAN countries. It needs to carry out all-round cooperation with China to maintain the regional security and trade relations so as to solve its domestic problems such as employment and economy, military expert Song Xiaojun said.

The drill does not target a third party and has nothing to do with the regional situation, according to Liang Yang, spokesperson of Chinese navy. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Liang Jun,Bianji)

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