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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 06:07 GMT 07:07 UK
China-Russia games in final stage
Russian Marine Corps line up for briefing on the beach in Qingdao, in east China's Shangdong Province, Monday, Aug. 22, 2005
Both sides say the war games are not designed to intimidate

The Chinese-Russian military exercise which the two countries are staging for the first time moved to its third and final stage on Tuesday.

Over the coming three days, more than 7,000 Chinese troops and 1,800 Russian soldiers will be taking part in live-fire combat practice.

Navy and air force units will also be involved in the manoeuvres.

The exercises will culminate in an amphibious landing on the Shandong Peninsula in China.

The two countries say the aim of the exercise is to practise for a peacekeeping operation, but correspondents say it is also meant to highlight the new, closer ties between Beijing and Moscow - both of which have expressed concern over US dominance in world affairs.

Chinese Maj-Gen Peng Guanglian told the Oriental Morning Post in Shanghai that the games "will frighten the three evil forces of 'ethnic separatism, religious extremism and international terrorism"'.

Known as Peace Mission 2005
Up to 10,000 personnel - as well as aircraft, warships and submarines
Russia and China clashed in the past over border issues, but relations have now improved
Russia is now one of China's top arms suppliers

Chinese destroyers, frigates, naval aircraft, and a submarine were joined by an anti-submarine vessel, a missile destroyer, helicopters and a surveillance plane from the Russian navy, during the exercises on Tuesday, China's Xinhua news agency said.

The eight-day operation began in Vladivostok, in Russia's far east.

The manoeuvres are being watched closely by Washington, but the US has not chosen to send official observers.

Analysts say the games give Russia the opportunity to showcase its weapons to China - one of its major arms buyers.

Russian equipment being used in the drills include Tu-95 strategic bombers and Tu-22M long-range bombers - warplanes that can carry conventional or nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, the Associated Press reported.

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