China-Russia wargames confirmed
CNN Senior China Analyst
HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- Beijing has denied speculation that joint Chinese-Russian wargames set for next month are aimed at a third country.
Japanese and Hong Kong media have been rife with reports there was an ulterior motive for the military exercises.
However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on Friday dismissed the reports and said that the joint operation would focus on "signal communication."
"The purpose of the military exercises is to test the reliability of signal communication ... so as to prevent possible dangerous military activities in the border areas and maintain peace and stability in the region," official media on Friday quoted Liu as saying.
Liu added that reports in overseas media which suggested the maneuvers were aimed at a third country were "untrue and [circulated] with an ulterior motive."
China and Russia signed in 1994 a treaty on the prevention of dangerous military activities in areas along the two nations' boundary.
Liu said the two armies had in recent years held platoon-level drills to improve communication.
He added similar exercises would be held in border areas in the Inner Mongolia region in mid-August.
Diplomatic analysts in Beijing said while the Chinese leadership was anxious to dispel speculation it was using the Russian card against the U.S., China has been active cultivating the Russians.
The analysts said Beijing was disturbed by recent signs of Moscow's tilt toward the U.S. and Europe, including the formation of a NATO-Russian council on security matters.
One way Beijing is pursuing to boost ties with its erstwhile ally is to buy arms from the foreign exchange-strapped country.
Chinese military officers told foreign reporters who toured a base outside the east China city of Tianjin earlier this week that Beijing would be buying more sophisticated Russian weapons. (PLA puts on show)
Among recent procurements is the state-of-the-art AA12 air-to-air missiles, which were recently tested during routine army maneuvers along the southeast coast.
The Chinese Air Force is also due to purchase more Su-27 and Su-30 jet fighters.
Western military analysts say about 48 advanced-model Su-30 jets will be delivered to China in the coming year or so.
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