Chinese, Russian war games over

Thousands of Chinese and Russian troops wrapped up their historic first joint military exercises Thursday with a mock invasion by paratroopers on China's east coast.

The eight-day exercises with 7,000 Chinese troops and 1,800 Russians underscored growing military ties between the former Cold War enemies, motivated by their common unease with U.S. dominance in world affairs.

Propaganda leaflets fell from the sky in "a psychological tactic to shake the enemy's will," according to Xinhua.

"The exercise ended with the defeat of the 'enemy,"' the agency said.

Russia's Interfax news agency also portrayed the operation as a success, saying Russian planes landed 10 combat vehicles and two armored personnel carriers by parachute in high winds.

"The military exercise deserves a high praise," Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency. "Both the Russian and Chinese troops effectively coordinated their actions, because they clearly understood the joint mission they fulfilled."

Ivanov and his Chinese counterpart, Cao Gangchuan, were on hand to watch the exercises. They were joined by defense ministers or deputy defense ministers from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan _ the other members of a six-nation group led by Beijing and Moscow that is meant to combat Islamic extremism in Central Asia.

China's secretive military barred Western reporters from the war games and Russian media were denied access to Chinese forces.

Earlier drills included a mock amphibious assault and a sea battle.

The exercise, dubbed "Peace Mission 2005," was inaugurated last week in the Russian port of Vladivostok and shifted on Saturday to China, the AP.

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