RUSSIA LOSING OUT TO CHINA IN RUN-UP TO EXERCISE
MOSCOW, March 23. (RIA Novosti)-The planned exercises between Russia and China this fall are becoming a source of increasing concern for Taiwan. During a recent trip to Beijing, Chief of the Russian General Staff Yury Baluyevsky failed to persuade the Chinese to change the format of this exercise so that Taiwan would not see it as a simulated invasion, writes Kommersant.
A source in the Defense Ministry said officials understood that Beijing was trying to take advantage of Sergei Ivanov's initiative on holding joint war games to exert psychological pressure on Taiwan. Beijing first proposed holding the exercise on the coast of the Zhejiang province, which is not far from Taiwan. Although it was eventually decided to shift the location to the Shandong Peninsula, instead of conducting a simulated anti-terrorist operation, the forthcoming exercise will aim to seize a coastal area.
According to the newspaper's sources, Baluyevsky proposed in Beijing that Russia would demonstrate its combat hardware rather than use large troop contingents. Kommersant says Moscow will commit two Tu-95MS strategic bombers and four Tu-22M3 long-range bombers, which will launch missiles against targets in an area closed to shipping and be shielded by Su-27SM air-superiority fighters. Baluyevsky also proposed involving four Ilyushin Il-76 cargo planes, as well as a marine company aboard a large amphibious-landing ship escorted by a Pacific Fleet anti-submarine warfare ship. The theory in Moscow is that Beijing will buy the Russian hardware after seeing it in action.
However, these proposals have not yet been accepted, and the sides still have not agreed on the timeframes for the war games. The exercise was first scheduled for August-September 2005, but it now seems that it may take place in October or November. The only point that has been agreed is that the exercise will last for nine days.
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