This year’s drill, dubbed “Peace Mission 2009,” was being conducted in Russia’s far eastern city of Khabarovsk, Xinhua reported. Part of it will also be held in China’s Taonan tactical training base bordering Russia’s Far Eastern region.
The drill comes in the wake of deadly riots between Muslim Uighurs and the dominant Han Chinese in Urumqi, capital of China’s northwest Xinjiang-Uighur province near Afghanistan and Pakistan.
More than 190 people died in the riots, the worst ethnic violence since the Communists took power in China in 1949. Chinese authorities have blamed the violence on Muslim Uighur separatist groups overseas.
The drill also marks the growing ties between the two powers.
The start of the drill was jointly announced by the Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Makarov, Xinhua reported.
About 1,300 army and air force personnel from each side were taking part in the exercise. There will also be 22 Russian aircraft, including Su-27 fighters, Su-24 and Su-25 attacker aircraft, and several helicopters, the news agency said. China will send more than 40 aircraft, including attackers, fighter-bombers, armed helicopters and transporters, as well as surface-to-air missile defense system and radar teams.
Similar exercises were held in 2005 and 2007