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BALUYEVSKY GOES TO CHINA TO DISCUSS PREPARATIONS FOR MILITARY EXERCISE

RIA Novosti

BEIJING, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - The forthcoming Russia-China military exercise denotes progress in bilateral military relations, said Yuri Baluyevsky, chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces. "I am pleased to be making my first official visit to this country, to friends with whom we are linked by partner relations," he said in Beijing airport.

He has come to China with "major powers delegated [to me] by the defense minister," the general said. "We have things to discuss and offer to our Chinese colleagues in military-technical cooperation and other spheres."

Yuri Baluyevsky believes that the exercise, preparations for which he is to discuss in Beijing, will denote "progress in the military relations of the two countries."

The first military exercise in the history of Russia-China relations is to be held in China in autumn 2005.

The exercise will be held in the Shandong Peninsula and the Yellow Sea washing its shores. Russia will dispatch an airborne company, long-range aircraft and frontline fighters, a Marine unit and a group of warships of the Pacific Fleet.

The task of the exercise, said the Russian defense ministry, is to train in joint operation in a peacekeeping operation of the mobile forces of Russia and China, which implies anti-terrorist aspects.

The agenda of Mr. Baluyevsky in China includes meetings with Defense Minister Cao Guangchuan and chief of the Chinese general staff Liang Guanglie, and possibly with a top leader of China.

On March 20, the Russian general will leave China for South Korea, where he is to hold talks with Korean Defense Minister Yuun Kwang Woong and Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Kim Jong Hwan before March 22.



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