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Foreign Military Personnel Watch PRC Military Exercise In Inner Mongolia



Xinhua reporter Chen Hui, and Central People's Broadcasting Network reporter Zhang Kunping

(Description of Source: Beijing Xinhua Domestic Service in Chinese -- China's official news service (New China News Agency))

Hohhot, 25 Aug (Xinhua) -- Military observers from 15 countries today watched a military exercise during which the Beijing Military Region's "Bei Jian (northern sword) 0308" armored brigade launched sudden and violent penetrating assaults at Inner Mongolia's Zhurihe combined tactical training base. This was the first time the Chinese armed forces invited foreign military personnel to watch a military exercise in which real ammunitions were used. It was also the first time the Chinese armed forces opened up their largest base for combined tactical training to foreign visitors. This morning, 27 military observers wearing blue, black, green or yellow berets from 15 countries -- including the United States, Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Canada, Thailand, and Egypt -- appeared at the Zhurihe combined tactical training base, the largest military training base in China. This training base, which covers an area of more than 1,000 square kilometers, is also the largest training base in Asia. It is large enough for corps- or division-level military exercise. Maude Laily (mao de lai li; name as transliterated), an official from the US Defense Department, said: "I'm honored to be able to come here to watch a Chinese military exercise. This is really a mysterious place!" Along the road to the exercise area were orderly parked armed helicopters, tanks, armored vehicles, infantry carriers (bu zhan che), antiaircraft guns, and field artillery pieces for seismic bombing (di pao); and nearly 5,000 soldiers of more than 10 services, such as infantry, armored force, reconnaissance force, chemical defense force, and army air unit -- in camouflaged battle array awaiting orders. Chris Deek (ke li si di ke; name as transliterated), a British major, said: "This is the first time I see so many Chinese weaponry and soldiers of many services. They look awesome." The exercise began at 0930. Hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles and other fighting support vehicles and more than 100 artillery pieces of the red and blue forces began to exchange fires fiercely. In the air, strike aircraft, fighters, and armed helicopters of the red and blue forces engaged each other in different air spaces. Throughout the exercise that lasted more than six hours, the red and blue forces launched strikes and counterstrikes, mobile assaults and blocks, joint attacks and counterattacks, and other offensive and defensive exercises.

After watching the exercise, Lieutenant Colonel Mabangge (ma bang ge; name as transliterated) from Tanzania said, "The Chinese forces' exercise had a high degree of combination. The coordination between the different services was very good. This shows that their operational command and telecommunication systems are very advanced." Colonel Kailik (kai li ke; name as transliterated), military attache of the Turkish Embassy in China, said: "The exercise was very successful. The quality of Chinese soldiers is very good. The idea of inviting military observers of different countries to watch an exercise is very good. This exercise has opened our eyes. Chinese soldiers are welcomed to watch our exercises in Turkey." Lum Sing Chun (lin cheng jun; name as transliterated), commander of Singapore's Fourth Armored Brigade, said: "This is the first time for me to watch an exercise of such a magnitude. This exercise can enhance the friendship between the armed forces and peoples of the two countries." Steven Mill, commander of the US 196th Infantry Brigade, said: "The fact that the red and blue forces did not know each other's situation before hand is in line with the requirements for actual combat. The way this exercise was conducted and its guiding thought are correct. This Chinese training base is very big. It is about the same size as our training base, Owen Fort (ou wen bao). It is an ideal battlefield for training." A responsible person of the foreign affairs office under the Chinese Defense Ministry said the purpose of organizing the military observers of the 15 countries to watch the exercise is to keep pace with the new military changes, promote military contacts between China and foreign countries, promote friendship and mutual trust between Chinese and foreign armed forces, and deepen international cooperation in military training so that we can make up our deficiencies by learning from other countries' strong points. He said this will have positive effects for the Chinese armed forces to accomplish their historical tasks of mechanization of modernization with information technology.




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