Drill aims to re­in­force sol­dier com­mu­ni­ca­tion

China, Rus­sia navies work on field ex­er­cises in the seas off Guang­dong

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE in Zhan­jiang, Guang­dong an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Mil­i­tary ex­changes are tak­ing a turn to­ward more fre­quent sol­dier-to-sol­dier com­mu­ni­ca­tions in the on­go­ing China-Rus­sia naval ex­er­cises, Chi­nese Se­nior Colonel Shi Zhi­gang said on Tues­day.

“In the past, China-Rus­sia joint ex­er­cises gave much more at­ten­tion to the com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween com­man­ders of the two sides, but this time there are more pro­grams in­volv­ing the ex­changes be­tween sol­diers,” said Shi while train­ing troops from both sides on day two of the eight-day China-Rus­sia Joint Sea2016 drill.

The drill is be­ing held in the east­ern wa­ters off Zhan­jiang, Guang­dong’s south­ern­most city, where the Chi­nese Navy’s Nan­hai Fleet is head­quar­tered.

Shi, who is in charge of the marines’ train­ing pro­grams in the drill, said sol­dier-to-sol­dier com­mu­ni­ca­tions are im­por­tant to the joint ex­er­cise be­cause the troops will co­op­er­ate bet­ter through such train­ing.

Both coun­tries’ marines en­gaged in mul­ti­ple ex­er­cises on Tues­day, such as shoot­ing drills and cross­ing bar­ri­ers in sim­u­lated beach­head fights.

Both sides’ sailors un­der­went a dam­age con­trol train­ing pro­gram that sim­u­lated emer­gency leaks and fires on a war­ship.

It was the first time the pro­gram was in­cluded in the China Rus­sia naval ex­er­cises, said Lieut Col Ren Kai, a com­man­der in charge of the dam­age con­trol train­ing.

“Dam­age-con­trol train­ing is im­por­tant be­cause what the crews learn about fight­ing leaks and fires can give war­ships a sec­ond life,” he said.

For the first time in the five years of the an­nual drills, the China-Rus­sia joint naval ex­er­cises are be­ing held in­the South China Sea. Last year, they were con­ducted in the Mediterranean in May and in the Sea of Ja­pan in late Au­gust.

Shi, leader of the marines’ drills, said that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity should not read too much into the site of ex­er­cises.

“The two navies have al­ready car­ried out drills in the coun­try’s North and East seas, and it’s nat­u­ral that we should have ex­er­cises in the South China Sea,” he said.

Shi added that it was the duty of China’s mil­i­tary to pro­tect “ev­ery inch of na­tional territory”.

Sergey Shi­mankin, a Rus­sian marines’ com­man­der, said he hoped Rus­sian troops would hone their com­bat abil­i­ties through the joint ex­er­cise.

He spoke highly of the Chi­nese marines’ train­ing and said he ex­pected both sides would co­op­er­ate bet­ter be­cause of the joint op­er­a­tions.

What the crews learn about fight­ing leaks and fires can give war­ships a sec­ond life.” Lt Col Ren Kai

XIN­HUA

Chi­nese and Rus­sian marines par­tic­i­pate in the Joint Sea 2016 drill that started on Tues­day and will last un­til Sept 19 off Guang­dong province in the South China Sea.

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