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RUSSIAN-CHINESE MILITARY EXERCISE IS QUITE LEGITIMATE AND TRANSPARENT

RIA Novosti

BEIJING, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - The forthcoming Russo-Chinese military exercise is not directed against any third parties, Russian General Staff Chief, General of the Army Yury Baluyevsky, now visiting Beijing, said Thursday.

"This exercise is by no means directed against any third party," he said.

Commenting on the claims appearing Thursday in some Russian media to the extent that a Chinese invasion in Taiwan would be rehearsed during the exercise, General Baluyevsky dismissed them as "pure fiction".

"This exercise is aimed at improving coordination and combat training of the two states' armies, and it is a legitimate form of cooperation," Baluyevsky emphasized.

According to Baluyevsky, discussions he had today with Liang Guanglie, Chief of the PLA General Staff, were focused on the issues of military and military-technical cooperation, including a new form of coordination - joint exercises. The exercise will certainly take place in fall, Baluyevsky said.

Army, Air Force and naval units from both countries will take part in the exercise, the General Staff Chief added. The total number of troops taking part in the exercise has not been established yet, Baluyevsky said. Both countries' top military leaders will take part in the exercise at certain stages.

"We expect the main preparatory work to be completed in 1-2 months," Baluyevsky said.

Commenting on the Anti-Secession Law, recently passed in China, Baluyevsky said that the Taiwan problem is China's internal affair. Today's meeting confirmed that China primarily favors the country's peaceful reunification, he added.

On Friday Yury Baluyevsky is expected to meet with Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan and PRC Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.



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