Russian and Chinese military forces are taking part in a five-day joint exercise, one of the biggest of its kind.
The “Peace Mission 2009” drill was officially started on Wednesday in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk by Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolay Makarov and his Chinese counterpart Chen Bingde.
About 3,000 army and air forces personnel, 300 armored vehicles and 45 aircraft will take part in the maneuvers at the Taonan military range in China. The scenario of the exercise says a large group of terrorists have captured a city and provoked massive riots there. The joint force is to defeat the militants and quell the uprising.
Chinese media say the scenario resembles the bloody riots in Xinjiang province earlier this month, even though the plans for the dill had been announced long before that. “To some extent, the July 5 Xinjiang riot pushed forward anti-terrorism cooperation between China and Russia,” the China Daily newspaper quoted Major Wang Haiyun, a former Chinese military attaché to Russia, as saying.
This is the fourth “Peace Mission” exercise. For Russia’s Far Eastern military command it will be the largest movement of troops across the national borders since the campaign against Japan in 1945.
“This is not an act to stick with fashion but a concrete advancement in preparing our military forces for joint countering of security threats in the region,” General Makarov told the media.
He added the drill was even more important in the context of Japan and South Korea taking a militarization course following North Korea’s nuclear test in May and subsequent missile test launches.
According to Makarov, the Russian military will have things to learn from their Chinese partners, who provided security during the Olympic Games in Beijing in August. Their advice will come in handy in 2014, when Russia itself is to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
General Bingde praised the traditional war games and stressed that they “are not directed against a third party and are not a threat to other nations.”