Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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China and Saudi Arabia Conduct First Joint Anti-Terrorism Military Exercise

China and Saudi Arabia.

(Photo : Getty Images) China and Saudi Arabia have conducted joint military drills near the south-western city of Chongqing.

China and Saudi Arabia have conducted their first-ever joint anti-terrorism military exercise, Chinese state media reported on Thursday. The operation is seen as a part of China's diplomatic pursuit to increase its cooperation with Middle Eastern countries.

The People's Liberation Army Daily reported that 25 army personnel's from each side participated in a drill that lasted for two weeks near China's south-western city of Chongqing.

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The training focused on anti-terrorism combat skills and other military tactics.

"This joint anti-terrorism training is directed at raising the two militaries' ability to combat terrorism and non-traditional security threats," the paper said.

Terrorism is a mutual threat for both China and Saudi Arabia. While Saudi Arabia is engaged in a battle against Iran in the war-torn Syria, China is busy fighting against the Muslim Uighur insurgents in its western region of Xinjiang.

To defeat terrorism among Uighurs, China set up an anti-terrorism alliance in August with Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.

China is working with these three Muslim countries partly because they share borders with the Xinjiang region. The Chinese government believes that its anti-terrorism alliance with these countries will prevent any insatiability from spilling over into the Xinjiang region.

In August, China blamed Uighur militants for a suicide bomb attack on the Chinese embassy in the Kyrgyz capital. The attack took place barely two months before Beijing conducted joint anti-terrorism drills with Tajikistan near Tajik-Afghan border.

Afghan army officials reportedly part of this operation.

China, meanwhile, is also stepping up an anti-terrorism alliance with its neighbor cum rival India. Last month, China held first-ever counter-terror dialogue with India in Beijing.

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