SPX, Beijing: China and Russia are to hold their first joint military exercise, code-named “Peace Mission 2005”, on 18 August, reports Chinese Defence Today.
The one-week exercise will be carried out in Vladivostok and east China's Shandong Peninsula and nearby offshore waters. This is also the first time that China allow so many foreign military personnel to enter its territory.
According to Chinese Defence Today, up to 10,000 troops, including 1,800 Russia troops, will take part in the exercise scheduled for 18- 25 August in Russia and China.
It is reported that the exercise will be held in three phases. Air force, navy, airborne and land troops from the two countries will be deployed. The exercise will be watched by defence ministers and observers from the member countries of Shanghai Co-operation Organisation.
A group of vessels from Russia's Pacific Fleet, including a submarine hunter, destroyer and major landing craft, arrived in the eastern Chinese port of Qingdao on Friday for unprecedented joint military manoeuvres.
Russia also began transferring troops of its air force to China on last Wednesday. Seven IL-76 military transport planes, carrying a reinforced company from the 76th airborne division and their military hardware, took off Wednesday.
They were followed by another six IL-76s carrying cargo and motor vehicles to China. An A-50 amphibious reconnaissance plane, an IL-78 tanker aircraft, an upgraded Su-24M attack plane, a Su-27SM fighter and a Tu-154 plane have also flown out to the manoeuvre area for the exercise.
Chinese Defence Today also reports that Russia will send four Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers to take part in the joint exercise. China has shown strong interest in obtaining the plane in the past
According to the report by Chinese and Russian news media, during the first phase on 18 and 19 August, a joint commanders exercise will be held in Vladivostok.
The second phase, which will be held between 20 and 22 August, will include airborne and amphibious landing in Shangdong Province, China under the support of navy warships. In the third phase between 23 and 26 August, Russian air force will send two Tu-95 Bear and four Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers to attack targets in the Yellow Sea.
The joint exercise 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 US 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”, the Chinese Defence Minister said earlier this month.