Russia, China Conclude Massive Anti-terror Drills, Vow Closer Alliance

Russia and China have wrapped up their five-day joint strategic military drills in Northwest China involving over 10,000 troops and advanced weaponry as top officials in both countries vowed further collaborations amid rising US-led provocations in eastern Europe and the pacific.

The last day of the drills – dubbed Zapad/Interaction-2021 — began with live-fire drills on Friday imitating an anti-terrorism operation featuring advanced Chinese J-20 stealth fighter jets and JH-7 bombers which conducted an air raid against hostile frontline command centers and air defense observation outposts, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

During the exercise, the Chinese and Russian troops also used a specially designed joint command system for the first time, which interconnected both sides’ combat systems, enabled teleconference and allowed the transfer of combat documents, significantly boosting systematic combat efficiency.

Praising the joint military maneuvers, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu suggested that the drills could further develop cooperation between Beijing and Moscow after flying to China to observe the air, sea, and ground exercises that saw Russian forces using Chinese weaponry for the first time.

“We have achieved a high level of interaction between our armed forces on land, in the air and at sea,” Shoigu emphasized in a statement released by the Russian Defense Ministry. “This increase is an important trend towards further activity.”

Echoing Shoigu’s remarks, China’s prominent Global Times daily cited Chinese experts as describing relations between Moscow and Beijing as “better than allies,” insisting that the two military powers “are capable of jointly tackling regional security issues including terrorism as well as global challenges brought up by countries like the US.”

Although Russia and China have carried out joint exercises since 2005, the Russian defense chief further noted that the latest maneuvers marked the first time the Russian military had taken part in an event of this kind in China.

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