France and China in joint military exercises

15th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

BEIJING, March 15 (AFP) - China and France will carry out the most comprehensive military exercises between China and a foreign country this week, a Chinese military official said Monday.

BEIJING, March 15 (AFP) - China and France will carry out the most comprehensive military exercises between China and a foreign country this week, a Chinese military official said Monday.

The exercises, scheduled to begin Tuesday in the northeastern port city of Qingdao, will be conducted jointly by a French naval fleet with 322 crew members and the North China Sea Fleet of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Navy, the official was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency.

"The joint maritime exercises between China and France scheduled for Tuesday will be the most comprehensive military exercises between China and foreign countries so far," the captain of a Chinese warship said.

A French military source said the joint exercises will be the biggest between the two countries.

"Our drill this time has reached a high standard and is very technical," the military source said.

Organized a considerable time ago, the exercices have "no relations at all" with the elections to be held in China's rival Taiwan on Saturday, a diplomatic source indicated.

"They are a part of the strategic dialogue in bilateral political relations," the source said.

The French naval fleet arrived in Qingdao on Friday morning and includes the anti-submarine-warfare destroyer Latouche-Treville, based in Brest, and a light frigate Commandant Birot, based in Toulon.

The Chinese guided missile destroyer Harbin, fuel tanker Hongze Lake and helicopter Dolphin will work with the French warships for the first naval drills.

Ju Xinchun, captain of the destroyer Harbin, said the French navy had a long history and strong combat effectiveness and China was eager to learn from its experience in coordination skills through the joint exercises.

The joint naval exercises would be helpful in enhancing coordination, communication and mutual trust at sea between the two navies, Christine Allain, second-in-command of the French light frigate Commandant Birot, was cited by Xinhua saying.

The five-day tour is the 12th visit by French warships to China, including Hong Kong, since 1978, and the fourth to Qingdao, the base of the North China Sea Fleet.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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