By JIM YARDLEY, The New York Times, March 19, 2005
BEIJING, March 18 - Yuri Baluyevsky, Russia's top general, outlined plans with Chinese officials this week for the first joint military exercises between the countries and played down concerns that they could further aggravate rising regional tensions.
General Baluyevsky, speaking Thursday during the first day of his four-day China visit, said the war games reflected the countries' shared desire to develop closer strategic military ties and were "not targeted at any third country," according to Chinese state news media. He also denied a report in the Russian press that China hoped to use the games as a training exercise to simulate a military action against Taiwan.
The general's visit began three days after China passed a so-called antisecession law that could authorize Chinese leaders to begin a military attack if they believed that Taiwan had moved too far toward independence. The United States, Taiwan and Japan have criticized the law as unnecessary and provocative at a time when relations between China and Taiwan appear to have been warming. But Russia's ambassador in Beijing told the official Chinese news media that his country welcomed the law as a tool to maintain peace.-------------