Beijing, Moscow vow to re­in­force mil­i­tary re­la­tions, com­bat abil­i­ties

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By PAN MENGQI in Tsugol, Rus­sia pan­mengqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and Rus­sia vowed to fur­ther deepen mil­i­tary ties and im­prove their troops’ com­bat abil­i­ties to re­spond to var­i­ous se­cu­rity threats, as they for­mally con­cluded the “Vos­tok-2018” strate­gic drills with a mil­i­tary pa­rade on Thurs­day.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and Chi­nese State Coun­cilor and Min­is­ter of Na­tional De­fense Wei Fenghe in­spected the troops at the Tsugol train­ing range in Rus­sia’s Trans-Baikal re­gion, where the ex­er­cise was held.

Wei said the drills re­flect China and Rus­sia’s con­fi­dence and de­ter­mi­na­tion to jointly safe­guard re­gional peace and se­cu­rity, and the ex­er­cise en­hances the two mil­i­taries’ abil­ity to re­spond to mul­ti­ple se­cu­rity threats.

The two sides should fur­ther strengthen their strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion and con­tin­u­ously pro­mote the devel­op­ment of their mil­i­tary re­la­tions, Wei added.

Putin said in his open­ing speech be­fore the pa­rade that Rus­sia will con­tinue to en­hance in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries and strengthen its armed forces to counter dif­fer­ent se­cu­rity threats.

He praised Rus­sian and Chi­nese troops who par­tic­i­pated in high-level drills in which they demon­strated their ca­pa­bil­ity to counter po­ten­tial mil­i­tary threats.

In the pa­rade, the Rus­sian army rolled out many of its lat­est and might­i­est pieces of mil­i­tary hard­ware, in­clud­ing Iskan­der mis­siles, T-80 and T-90 tanks, and Su-34 and Su-35 fighter jets.

The Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army dis­played its Type-99 main bat­tle tank, ZBD-08 in­fantry fight­ing ve­hi­cle, WZ-9 and WZ-19 at­tack he­li­copters, Mi-171 he­li­copters and the JH-7A fighter-bomber.

The drills, which be­gan on Tues­day, were the largest of their kind in mod­ern Rus­sia’s his­tory and in­volved nearly 300,000 Rus­sian troops.

China dis­patched 3,200 sol­diers, along with over 1,000 pieces of weaponry and 30 fixed-wing air­craft and he­li­copters to par­tic­i­pate.

Shao Yuan­ming, vice-chief of staff at the Joint Staff Depart­ment of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion and Chi­nese chief com­man­der at the drills, said the two mil­i­taries deep­ened their friend­ship, im­proved mu­tual trust and fos­tered co­op­er­a­tion. The ex­er­cises also en­hanced the abil­ity of both armies to re­spond to var­i­ous re­gional se­cu­rity threats, he said.

The two na­tions will con­tinue their mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion and ex­plore new pos­si­ble ways to boost their com­bat abil­i­ties, he said.

Dur­ing three days of strate­gic drills, the troops sim­u­lated a clas­sic anti-in­va­sion cam­paign at the train­ing range in eastern Siberia.

Beijing said the drills were not aimed at any third party.

Chi­nese troops’ par­tic­i­pa­tion was re­ported to be their first large-scale over­seas mil­i­tary ac­tiv­ity since PLA mil­i­tary re­forms started in 2016. It also marked the largest mil­i­tary event since Moscow’s “New Look” army re­form started in 2008.

The two mil­i­taries formed a joint op­er­a­tional com­mand sys­tem dur­ing the drills. Li Weiya, a com­man­der at the Chi­nese op­er­a­tional com­mand head­quar­ters, said the event has his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance be­cause it fully demon­strated the new co­op­er­a­tive form and level of the two armies.

He said China’s par­tic­i­pa­tion shows Moscow and Beijing are now co­op­er­at­ing in all ar­eas.

PAN MENGQI / CHINA DAILY

China, Rus­sia and Mon­go­lia con­clude this week’s “Vos­tok-2018” strate­gic drills with a mil­i­tary pa­rade on Thurs­day at the Tsugol train­ing range in Rus­sia’s Trans-Baikal re­gion.

ALEXEI NIKOLSKY / TASS

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin greets a Chi­nese sol­dier dur­ing the pa­rade.

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