China and Russia are rapidly getting closer. At the end of last year, the two countries settled their border dispute, agreed to cooperate in developing energy resources within Russia, and then decided to hold their first-ever joint military drills.
Hong Kong Phoenix Satellite TV reported on March 20 that China and Russia would conduct a joint military exercise named Friendship 2005 in August and September on the Shandong peninsula, close to the Korea peninsula, and the West Sea (Yellow Sea in Chinese).
Russian sources said on the above-mentioned matter that Yury Baluyevski, Russian first deputy joint chief of staff, visited China from March 17 to 20 and agreed on the method, content, participating branches of the army and weapons to be used in the joint military exercise between the two countries.
Considering neighboring countries worries, Colonel General Yuri Baluyevski, explained that their joint military drill was not aimed at a third country but aimed at anti-terrorism and an improvement in the military exercise level of the two countries.
However, military experts analyzed that the Chinese and Russian military exercise was actually aimed at checking the expansion of the U.S. and Japanese military influence that has gained momentum after the Afghanistan war and after setting the resolution of the Taiwan issue as their joint strategic goal.
Regarding the venue of China and Russias military exercise, experts interpreted that the two countries might have assumed a military confrontation with South Korea and the U.S. Forces in Korea or Japan and the U.S. Forces in Japan in case of emergency.
The joint military training will involve a Russian airlift of an airborne unit to the training location by IL-76 transport plane, launching a cruise missile to an imaginary target with Tu-22M3 medium-range bombers, and bombing ground units with the latest cutting edge Su-27SM fighter-bombers. In addition, the two countries will hold a naval exercise with submarines. The Phoenix Satellite TV added that the Chinese government originally suggested the Zhejiang area close to Taiwan as an exercise location, but the Russian government, worried over the opposition from U.S. and Japan as well as Taiwan, selected another location.