From the veteran friends of liberty over at Radio Free Europe comes this update...
RUSSIA AND CHINA BEGIN JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES...
Speaking to reporters in Vladivostok on 18 August, the chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, Colonel General Yurii Baluevskii, and his Chinese counterpart Colonel General Liang Guanglie announced the opening of the first-ever joint Chinese-Russian military exercises, RIA-Novosti, ITAR-TASS, and other news agencies reported.
"Peace Mission 2005" will include army, navy, air force, marine, airborne, and logistics units and run until 25 August. The first stage of the exercises will have both general staffs leading training and will be mainly conducted in Russia's Far East Military District. The second phase of the exercises will be carried out from 23 August on the Chinese Shandong Peninsula and Yellow Sea. "Our exercises don't threaten any country," polit.ru and deita.ru quoted Baluevskii as saying in Vladivostok.
...AS MEDIA SPECULATE ON REAL GOAL... Although the official purpose of the exercises is setting up cooperation in "joint counterterrorist and counterextremist operations," some in the Russian media say that the exercises are directed mainly against the United States.
"Russia and China plays on the nerves of the United States," pravda.ru commented on 18 August. The political goal of the exercises for Moscow and Beijing is the "creation of a multipolar world," "Kommersant-Daily" noted on 18 August.
In addition, Moscow has its own goal: to promote and increase the sale of its weapons to China. Rbk.ru suggested that the goal of the operation is to demonstrate to the United States that it should stay out of any future conflict between China and Taiwan.
Another aim of the exercises could be the gradual transformation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (which is comprised of China and Russia as well as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) into a military alliance, rbk.ru added.