Moscow and Beijing are to hold joint military exercises aimed at cementing their strategic partnership, Russia’s Defense Ministry says.
The drills, titled Peace Mission 2009, are to be held in northeastern China this summer, RIA Novosti quoted ministry sources as saying on Wednesday.
“Consultations between the two countries’ defense ministries will begin shortly, in which the forces and resources involved in the exercises are to be determined, as well as the thematic focus of the joint maneuvers,” said another ministry official according to Interfax.
The six-nation security body, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), is to assist the proper conduct of the event. Counterterrorism has been used as the main theme during the previous Peace Mission exercises.
Russia has been making visible overtures to its regional partners to counter what is seen as the US’ increasing influence in the former soviet nation’s neighborhood.
Early last month, plans were drawn up for creation of a broad-based defense shield extending from Belarus to China and joined by Russia and six other ex-Soviet states. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that the defensive structure, meant to guard the post-Soviet space, would not be less powerful than NATO forces.