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Grid link powers border defense

Updated: 2014-07-22 07:33
By Cui Jia in Kashgar, Xinjiang ( China Daily)

A stable power supply is a crucial strategic element for military border defense missions in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Huang Xiaoming, the deputy commander of the People's Liberation Army's Xinjiang military region, said on Monday.

Huang made the remarks after power lines were connected to frontier defense stations on the China-Pakistan border.

The PLA border defense company in the Tashkurgan Tajik autonomous county's Khunjerab Pass on the Pamir Plateau installed high definition surveillance cameras on the mountain passes leading to Pakistan in September, but they sometimes failed to work because of an unstable power supply.

Electricity is essential, if surveillance cameras are to monitor suspicious activities, and it will improve the troops' ability to catch terrorists or separatists trying to cross the border illegally, Huang, a company commander, said on Monday. "Now the troops can monitor the border day and night."

Previously, the company's base was powered by solar panels and a diesel engine. When it snowed, little electricity was generated, Huang said.

The forces in Kashgar's Tashkurgan that are deployed along the 87-kilometer passage to Wakhan Corridor, which separates China and Afghanistan, will be connected to the power grid in September.

Huang said some tribal terrorist cells in Afghanistan are still active near the corridor, posing a big threat to China, which has experienced a series of attacks. In addition, some separatists and terrorists who plotted attacks in Xinjiang were trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Qi Yanping, deputy commander of the PLA's Xinjiang military region, said that with high-tech equipment, the troops can better guard China's borders.

"Our basic mission is to not let a single terrorist or weapon enter China. We are even responsible for stopping herdsmen's livestock, such as yaks, from crossing the border," said Wang, whose company guards the 96-km China-Pakistan border.

With sufficient electricity, armed border inspection forces based near the Khunjerab boundary marker, at an altitude of 5,200 meters, can employ advanced X-ray systems to check different vehicles for weapons and drugs.

The 116-km power line from the generating plant in the county seat of Tashkuegan, cost almost 100 million yuan ($16.1 million), said Jiang Guoping, deputy manager of the Tashkuegan electricity company.

"The project mainly serves the border defense forces, but it also benefits more than 60 herdsmen who previously lived without electricity."

cuijia@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 07/22/2014 page7)

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