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  Mongolia in the Dark about Chinese-Russian War Games
  By Deirdre Tynan
July 25, 2002


THE HEAD of Foreign Relations at the Ministry of Defense says that Mongolia has not been informed of planned Chinese-Russian military operations on the Mongolian border in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of China.


“We have not been informed officially about the operation. We heard about it through the press. We have no information on how far from our border the operation will take place or its goal,” said Mr. Nurzed.


Bejing has denied that large-scale Chinese-Russian land, sea and air war games set for mid-August are aimed at a third country.


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on Friday dismissed the reports and said that the joint operation would focus on “signal communication”.


“The purpose of the military exercises is to test the reliability of signal communication so as to prevent possible dangerous military activities in the border areas and maintain peace and stability in the region,” he said.


Liu added that reports in overseas media which suggest the maneuvers were aimed at a third country are “Untrue and circulated with an ulterior motive.”


China and Russia signed a treaty in 1994 for the prevention of dangerous military activity in areas along the two nations’ boundary.


Liu said the two armies had in recent years held platoon-level drills to improve communication. He added similar exercises would be held in border areas in the Inner Mongolia region in mid-August.


Diplomatic analysts in Beijing suggest the operation may be an attempt to overshadow Russia’s recent tilt towards NATO.


The People’s Liberation Army has also increased military hardware sales from Russia including state-of-the-art AA12 air-to-air missiles, which were recently tested during routine army maneuvers along the southeast coast. The Chinese Air Force is also due to purchase more Su-27 and Su-30 jet fighters.


Western military analysts say about 48 advanced-model Su-30 jets will be delivered to China in the coming year.


The Russian Military Attache in Mongolia said he had no information about the joint operations but that he did know that it was a Chinese idea. The press officer for the Chinese Embassy in Mongolia said that he had no firm information at the present time.


Former Minister of Defense, Dambiin Dorligav, said, “We must pay great attention to this issue. According to military agreements between our three countries Mongolia should be officially informed about any such plans.”


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