Beijing: Chinese troops battled mock terrorists who hijacked a bus and blasted automatic weapons at moving targets in a drill for foreign journalists on Tuesday, calling it a sign the world’s largest army is opening up to the outside world.
China has long been tightlipped about its military strength and capacity, drawing criticism from other countries wary of the Asian giant’s growing power and skyrocketing military spending.
Senior Colonel Leng Jiesong, head of the army’s Third Guard Division, told journalists the tour was part of a policy of increased openness.
“China is more and more open to the outside world, and so is the People’s Liberation Army, and we are actively speeding up our opening process,” he said.
The visit comes ahead of 1 August, which marks the 82nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, which now has 2.3 million members.
The tour was organized by the ministry of defence and attended by officials from the foreign ministry.
Journalists took a tour of soldiers’ living quarters, viewed a counterterrorism exercise involving a hijacked bus and seven terrorists who escaped into a nearby building, and watched target practice involving automatic weapons and rocket launchers.