Image: Heads of Chinese and Russian armed forces.
Burt Herman  /  AP
Gen. Liang Guanglie, the chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, left, and Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, the head of the Russian armed forces general staff, salute at a World War II memorial in Vladivostok, Russia, on Thursday, as the two countries launch unprecedented joint military exercises.
updated 8/20/2005 1:48:12 AM ET 2005-08-20T05:48:12

China and Russia began the second stage of their historic joint military drills early Saturday, shifting to China’s northeast coast after two days of exercises near the Russian port of Vladivostok, the Chinese government said.

The government didn’t immediately release any details of what the troops were doing near Qingdao, a major Chinese naval base on the Shandong peninsula, which juts into the Yellow Sea southeast of Beijing.

But officials said earlier that the exercise in China would include having a combined unit stage a landing to practice stabilizing a fictional country.

Some 10,000 troops, mostly Chinese and about 1,800 Russians, are taking part in the first-ever military exercises between the countries, dubbed “Peace Mission 2005.”

The exercise Saturday was to include 14 ships and about 50 Russian and Chinese warplanes, according to Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency.

The war games are the result of strengthening ties between Russia and China over shared concerns about U.S. dominance of world affairs.

The joint practice is meant to improve the abilities of the two sides to work together in “dealing with crises and organizing coordinated actions in the backdrop of the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency said.

The exercise will include the midair refueling of Russian-made Chinese Sukhoi-30 interceptors by a Russian flying tanker, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

China’s secretive military has barred most foreign reporters from watching the exercises.

ITAR-Tass said even Russian correspondents were refused access to Chinese forces.

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