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Drill shows forces capable of defeating any terrorist attack

A SENIOR Chinese military officer said yesterday that the "Peace Mission 2009" exercise had significantly improved the responsiveness of Chinese and Russian armed forces to terrorist attacks, despite the reduction in troop numbers from previous drills.

"Peace Mission 2009 is not a simple repetition of the two previous exercises," Senior Colonel Lu Chuangang, chief of the PLA's coordination team for the exercise, said.

Under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China, Russia and other member states of the SCO held two similar exercises in 2005 and 2007 under the Peace Mission title.

"The preparation time for the joint exercise has been shortened from 10 months in previous exercises to four months this year, which shows how Chinese and Russian armed forces can mobilize and deploy to a location within a very short time," said Lu, who had taken part in the 2007 drill.

The two previous exercises each involved more than 10,000 troops, but just 1,300 troops from each side are taking part this year.

"Although fewer troops are participating this time, more sophisticated weapon systems have been introduced," Lu said.

"Both the Chinese and Russian armed forces are deploying surface-to-air missile defense systems which substantially complement the air force strike forces."

Chiefs of General Staff of the Chinese and Russian armed forces told reporters they were confident the two military forces were capable of defeating any terrorist attack.

General Chen Bingde and General of the Army Nikolai Makarov were speaking after watching 2,600 troops conduct an 80-minute joint drill at the Taonan Tactical Training Base in northeast China's Jilin Province.

"China and Russia have a very clear objective to jointly eliminate terrorism, separatism and extremism," said General Chen, chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army.

Falling on the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, the joint anti-terror military exercise is aimed at promoting friendship and cooperation between the two armies, he said.

"The close coordination of the two forces in the exercise has shown that so long as we have a strong will and the troops fulfill their duties, we will succeed," said Makarov.

The two generals arrived at the Taonan training base after they announced the commencement of the five-day exercise in Russia's Khabarovsk on Wednesday.


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