Wed, Dec 15, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Russia set to sell more arms to Beijing

AP , BEIJING

China and Russia will hold their first joint military exercise next year, the Chinese government has announced, and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) is calling for further expansion of the rapidly growing alliance between the former Cold War rivals.

The announcement came during a visit to Beijing by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who was expected to discuss expanding Russia's multibillion-dollar annual arms sales to China.

The exercises are to take place on Chinese territory, the official China News Service (CNS) said on Monday. But that report and other government statements didn't say when they would take place or what forces would be involved.

"We want ... to promote the development of the two countries' strategic collaborative relationship in order to safeguard and promote regional and world peace," CNS quoted Hu as telling Ivanov.

China's Xinhua News Agency quoted Ivanov and his Chinese counterpart, Cao Gangchuan (曹剛川), as saying the military exercises would be an "important event, the significance and impact of which will be far-reaching."

Beijing and Moscow have built up military and political ties since the Soviet collapse in 1991, driven in part by a joint desire to counterbalance US global dominance.

They are partners in the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization, formed to combat what they call the common threat of Islamic extremism and separatism.

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