ISLAMABAD - China and Pakistan have agreed to hold joint military exercise YOUYI-V in China in the ongoing year with the related specifications to be finalised during the visit of Chinese defence minister to Islamabad, it was learnt on Friday.

The exercise is expected to be held anytime this year in China's Yeuhuan city, informed insiders shared with this newspaper.

Last held more than three years ago in November 2011, the previous Pak-China military exercise YOUYI-IV saw field interactions between the operational formations of the armies from the two neighbouring states to conduct combined professional manoeuvres. It was held at Tila Firing Range near Jhelum. The conduct of a fresh drill of the YOUYI series was reportedly discussed last October following the visit of then army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to China.

In his two-day visit to Pakistan (Thursday-Friday), General Chang Wanquan, the State Councillor and Defence Minister of China, along with his four-member delegation, held separate meetings with Pakistan's top government functionaries including the government as well as the military officials. One of the agenda of the Chinese official's visit, informed official sources believe, was to map out the specifications for the upcoming exercise.

The YOUYI-IV was held here, however, the previous exercise YOUYI-III was held in China in July 2010.

"The place for the fresh exercise of the YOUYI series has been decided. The timeline still needs to be chalked out," said a highly placed security source.

The drill's proposed conduct, he said, was figured on Thursday during the meeting between Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif and the Chinese defence minister. A military statement issued on this count, however, had no mention of the specific agenda. "During the meeting, issues of mutual interest, regional security and measures to enhance bilateral defence collaboration were discussed," the press release had stated then.

On the other hand, a media release issued following the meeting between Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and his Chinese counterpart the same day tentatively discussed the topic. "Pakistan and Chinese defence delegations also held a session of talks where matters of defence production and Chinese help in achieving self-reliance in defence production were broadly discussed. Matters of maritime cooperation, joint-exercises, defence and security talks were broadly discussed," the statement said.

Khawaja Asif is also quoted in the same media release to have said that Pakistan supported, "One-China Policy on issues of Taiwan, Tibet, Xingiang and human rights."

On Friday, the Chinese defence minister held separate meetings with President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Rashad Mahmood, Air Chief Marshall Tahir Rafique Butt and Naval Chief Admiral Asif Sandila before the conclusion of his visit.