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Russia-China war games battle extremists, separatists

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The war games will, for the first time, range across both Russian and Chinese territory near the far-eastern region of Khabarovsk, and involve about 3,000 troops, plus 40 fighter planes and helicopter gunships.

Russian and China have been gradually strengthening their cooperation through joint leadership of the six-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which has evolved from a regional trade association into an increasingly assertive political alliance since its formation in 2001. Members include Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan; India, Pakistan, Mongolia, and Iran attend SCO summits as observers.

Some critics warn that the group is taking on an increasingly anti-American complexion, as when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the SCO's June summit in Yekaterinburg just days after his disputed election victory.

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