CHINA AND PAKISTAN CONDUCT JOINT ANTI-TERROR TRAINING EXERCISES
On December 18, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Pakistani Army concluded an eight-day exercise of “joint-terror operations in mountainous terrain” that was held in Abbottabad, northern Pakistan. The exercises, codenamed “Friendship 2006,” were held in the wake of President Hu Jintao’s recent visit to Pakistan and were the second joint Sino-Pakistani military exercises ever held (Daily News [Pakistan], December 17). The first phase of the exercise, which began on December 11, consisted of four days during which equipment demonstrations and tactical training were held. The second phase of the exercise, which began on December 17, consisted of a joint command and control (C2) exercise as well as operational exercises. During the joint C2 exercise, the two sides erected a command post with a “joint-exercise-directing unit” led by a PLA Senior Colonel from the Chengdu Military Region (MR) and Pakistani Brigadier of a commander of a mountain infantry brigade. The command post conducted drills in both joint situational analysis and operational decision-making (Xinhua, December 18). The two military units that participated in the anti-terror exercises, one from the Chengdu MR and the other from Pakistan’s mountain infantry brigade, conducted joint ambushes, patrols and search and suppression operations. At the conclusion of the exercises, the head of the Chinese delegation, PLA Lieutenant General Lu Dengming, Chief of Staff of the Chengdu MR, praised the exercises as evidence of Sino-Pakistani cooperation in “confronting the three evil forces, terrorism, extremism and separatism.” The leader of the Pakistani observation delegation, Army Lieutenant General Tariq Majeed, Corps Commander Rawalpindi, added, “Pakistan and China stand united to fight and eliminate the menace of terrorism” (Xinhua, December 18).
SENIOR CHINESE OFFICIALS REITERATE CALLS FOR IMPROVED SINO-JAPANESE RELATIONS
Upon returning from leading a military delegation to Japan, PLA Navy Rear Admiral Yang Yi, director of the National Defense University’s Institute of Strategic Studies, called for a continued improvement to Sino-Japanese relations, characterizing it as a matter of regional and global significance (Zhongguo Xinwen She, December 10). In his interview with ZXS, Yang Yi highlighted the importance of correctly defining the strategic importance of each country and the need to recognize one another’s “legitimate political interests” so as to create a “win-win” situation. Yang Yi continued his assessments in a rare moment of candor, highlighting the fact that “for years, both the Chinese and Japanese peoples have lacked a certain degree of wisdom and have been swayed to some extent by their nationalist sentiment. This state of affair, if allowed to develop, is quite detrimental to the improvement and development of Sino-Japanese relations.” Yang Yi concluded by calling upon the Japanese leadership to recognize China’s “rational rights” in order to foster an atmosphere for improving Sino-Japanese relations. Meanwhile, Huanqiu Shibao, published by the People’s Daily, has published an exclusive interview with China’s Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi, in which he praised Abe’s visit to Beijing as “an important step towards further improvement and development of bilateral relations” (Huanqiu Shibao, December 13). This visit broke the political stalemate between the two countries, Wang Yi added, citing the high level political contacts—visits by the speakers of the Diet as well as Cabinet members and military officials—that followed Abe’s visit as evidence of the progress in relations. In order to continue improving Sino-Japanese relations, Wang Yi stated that both China and Japan should “promote pragmatic cooperation for mutual benefit” as well as cooperate in “building a harmonious, open and cooperative Asia.”