Exercise meant to counter growing terror threats, not aimed at others
The ongoing China-Russia counter-terrorist drill is legit, and should not be mistaken as a destabilizing factor in the region, Chinese experts said on Sunday.
The Chinese People's Armed Police Force (CAPF) and Russian National Guard are conducting the counter-terrorist drill, "Cooperation-2017," from Saturday to December 13 near Yinchuan, capital of Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.
The joint Sino-Russian exercise is aimed at deepening the friendly cooperation and further enriching the practical exchanges between the two sides, Xinhua quoted an unnamed CAPF officer of general staff department as saying.
The official said that the drill is designed to enhance the coping mechanism when terrorist threats in the region surface, rather than forge an alliance against other countries or regions.
"Chinese and Russian forces are conducting a legitimate drill and normalizing such joint trainings in counter-terrorism, since both countries are faced with increasingly complicated terrorist situations, and the region is haunted with various types of terrorist threats, including cross-border ones," Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military expert and also a TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.
It is no different from US-involved joint counter-terrorist drills in other parts of the world and should not be mistaken for threatening regional stability, said Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.
The 12-day drill is underway in multiple sites in Ningxia, whose Desert Fox Commando Unit, the assault anti-terrorist detachment group, represents the Chinese side in the drill, while Russia has deployed a Vityaz special forces unit and the Rys special rapid deployment forces for the event, Sputnik News reported.
"Cooperation-2017" is the fourth of such drill between law enforcement agencies from China and Russia, Xinhua said.
In August 2007, 79 soldiers of the Snow Leopard Commando Unit of the CAPF took part in joint counter-terror exercises of special forces in the Moscow area. In June 2013, counter-terrorist exercises of the Vityaz special forces unit and the Chinese police were held in Beijing, Sputnik reported.
In the first half of July 2016, a joint training was held in Russia for special purpose units, codenamed "Cooperation-2017," the report said.
NATO released a report saying that China's growing military strength and a resurgent Russia will pose a growing challenge to the trans-Atlantic alliance in the coming years, Reuters reported.
The Reuters report quoted General Denis Mercier, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, as saying that the report showed a higher risk of major interstate war than in the 2013 report.
Xu said that since China and Russia hold a defensive stance in the world and pose no threat, the world will enter a multi-polarization stage, which will safeguard the world's relative stability than under uni-polar hegemony.
The NATO report is merely another excuse for its members to expand their defense budgets, and the once-wartime military alliance is not doing the world any favor, according to Xu.