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Russian navy ships arrive in Chinese port for first joint military maneuvers
2005-08-12 02:57:23 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIJING, Aug 12 (AP) -- A detachment of Russian naval ships arrived in the eastern Chinese port of Qingdao on Friday for unprecedented joint military maneuvers, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The group of vessels from Russia's Pacific Fleet -- including a submarine hunter, destroyer and major landing craft -- departed Vladivostok Monday.

Russia said earlier this week it would also send six heavy bombers, including two Tu-95 strategic bombers and four Tu-22M long-range bombers, to take part in the drills on the Shandong peninsula.

The Aug. 18-25 maneuvers highlight budding military ties between Moscow and Beijing, whose relations have warmed after decades of Cold War-era rivalry.

Their reconciliation has been driven in part by mutual unease at U.S. power and a fear of Islamic extremism in Central Asia. But Moscow and Beijing have insisted that the exercise, the first ever such drill, was not aimed at any third country.

The exercises are meant to "strengthen the capability of the two armed forces in jointly striking international terrorism, extremism and separatism," China's Defense Ministry said earlier this month.

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