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Chinese, Russian preparing for live-fire drills in joint military exercises
2005-08-21 21:52:43 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS




(Photo/Xinhua Photo)

Beijing, Aug. 22 (AP) -- A 9,000-strong force of Chinese and Russian troops taking part in their first joint military exercises is preparing for live-fire drills on China's east coast, state media said Monday.

The three-day drill starts Tuesday and will involve warplanes, naval destroyers and an amphibious landing on the Shandong peninsula in the Yellow Sea, the China Daily newspaper reported.

Some 7,000 Chinese troops and 1,800 Russians are taking part in the exercise, dubbed "Peace Mission 2005."

During the weekend, paratroopers from the two militaries landed in an exercise aimed at stabilizing a third country.

The war games mark a new stage in the transformation of Beijing and Moscow into economic and political partners.

The two governments settled the last of their decades-old border disputes late last year and are collaborating in a regional security group meant to combat Islamic radicalism in Central Asia.

The exercises this week are meant to improve cooperation in "dealing with crises and organizing coordinated actions in the backdrop of the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism," China's official Xinhua News Agency said on Saturday.

China's secretive military barred most foreign reporters from the exercises. Russia's ITAR-Tass news agency said even Russian media were refused access to Chinese forces.

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