BEIJING – China and Russia began the second stage of their first joint military drills early Saturday, shifting to China’s northeast coast after two days of exercises near the Russian port of Vladivostok, the Chinese government said. The war games are the result of warming ties between former Cold War enemies Moscow and Beijing, motivated by growing concern at U.S. dominance of world affairs.
The drills near Qingdao, the site of a major Chinese naval base on the Shandong peninsula in the Yellow Sea, are to include a joint landing to practice stabilizing a fictional country.
About 7,000 Chinese troops and 1,800 Russians with ships, fighter planes and amphibious vehicles are taking part in “Peace Mission 2005,” Chinese state television said.
The joint practice is meant to improve cooperation in “dealing with crises and organizing coordinated actions in the backdrop of the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency said.
The midday national television news showed Chinese troops splashing through the surf in amphibious armored craft and sailors in a Chinese warship’s command center, though it didn’t say whether those activities occurred Saturday.
State television also showed Russian fighters and cargo planes landing at a Chinese military base and Russian troops unloading an armored vehicle. A Chinese schoolgirl presented a bouquet of flowers to a Russian naval officer.
The exercise Saturday was to include 14 ships and about 50 Russian and Chinese warplanes, according to Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency.
It will include the midair refueling of Russian-made Chinese Sukhoi-30 interceptors by a Russian flying tanker, ITAR-Tass said.
China’s secretive military has barred most foreign reporters from watching the exercises.
ITAR-Tass said even Russian correspondents were refused access to Chinese forces.