China and America hold 10th Defence Consultative Dialogue (DCT); China purchases Russian helicopter; PLA conducts first joint military drills with Mongolia and Singapore; Chinese Vice-Premier visits Turkmenistan, Finland and Uzbekistan
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  • The two-day 10th Defence Consultative Dialogue (DCT) between Chinese and American delegations began on June 23. The last DCT meeting took place in the US about 18 months ago. Reports noted that the Obama administration has given a new lease of life to Sino-American military exchanges which remained virtually frozen after President Bush had announced plans to sell arms worth $6.5 billion to Taiwan in February 20081.

    Reports noted that Russian company Rostvertol will sell a Mi-26TC heavy lift helicopter to China. The agreements reportedly signed during the 7th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai held in November 2008. This will be the second Mi-26TC helicopter that Russia will sell to China2.

    The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) launched a joint military drill, code-named ‘Cooperation 2009’, on June 24. The nine-day drill, a first of its kind between the two countries, was meant to be a counter-terrorism training exercise focusing on anti-nuclear, biological and chemical threats3. China has also launched a six-day military drill with Mongolia – ‘Peacekeeping Mission 2009’ on June 28. This was also the first such exercise between the armed forces of the two countries4.

    Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang visited Turkmenistan, Finland and Uzbekistan during the week. In his talks with the Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on June 24, both the leaders explored the possibilities of cooperation in areas like economy and energy. Reports noted that the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline figured prominently in their talks5. In Finland, Mr. Li met with the Finnish Prime Minister Tara Halonen. Green technology sector was identified as a potential area of growth between the tow countries6. During his Tashkent visit, both the countries noted the “improved quality and increased level of bilateral, pragmatic cooperation with joint projects being carried out in energy, mining, transportation, agriculture, telecom, machinery, petrochemical and other sectors7.”

    In other developments, Turkish President Abdullah Gul arrived in Beijing on June 24 on a 6-day State visit. The Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Air Force also visited China and met with Defence Minister Liang Guanglie on June 26. The ‘comprehensive’ nature of ‘traditional friendship’ between the tow was reiterated during the meeting that the PAF Chief had with Mr. Liang8.