China-US disaster relief exchange shows military ties a stabilizer to bilateral relations: analysts

By Liu Xuanzun in Nanjing Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/18 0:03:20

Chinese Lieutenant General Qin Weijiang and US General Robert Brown host a press conference at the US-China Disaster Management Exchange 2018 in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province on Saturday. Photo: Liu Xuanzun / GT


 

Chinese and US soldiers work together during a search and rescue training mission during the US-China Disaster Management Exchange 2018 in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province on Saturday. Photo: Liu Xuanzun / GT

A US Army participant learns Chinese at the US-China Disaster Management Exchange 2018 in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province on Saturday. Photo: Liu Xuanzun / GT


 
Senior Chinese and US military officers praised the successful completion of a disaster management exchange (DME) between the two militaries on Saturday in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, as the two sides agreed on the importance of building understanding and mutual trust through similar operations.

Chinese military analysts said on Saturday that cooperating on humanitarian aid and disaster relief can contribute to the role of military ties acting as a stabilizer to the overall China-US relations.

Lieutenant General Qin Weijiang, the vice commander of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command and the commander of the Eastern Theater Command ground force, said at the DME closing ceremony on Saturday that the exchange demonstrated the expertise and combat morale of the troops from both countries.

It has also displayed the responsibility and honor of the militaries of major countries, he said.

The Chinese and US militaries have proven that they can enhance cooperation in areas of common interests, Qin said, noting that the two sides should carry out more exchanges and expand cooperation, which will help boost mutual trust and reduce misunderstandings and misconceptions.

General Robert Brown, commander of the United States Army Pacific, echoed Qin at the event, calling the DME foundational to the military ties between the two countries.

Brown said that seven out of 10 people in the world killed in a disaster were in the Indo-Pacific region, and the US and China must work together to respond to this to save lives.

"Military-military is just one aspect of the relations between our two countries, but it is one where we find areas in common and can build trust and reduce miscalculation," Brown said.

It is even easier to discuss differences if you are working in areas of common interests, he said.

The generals' remarks came after the DME concluded on Saturday.

More than 200 military personnel from the PLA Eastern Theater Command and the United States Army Pacific participated in the DME, according to a statement the Ministry of National Defense released on Tuesday.

The exchange followed statements made by Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe during his visit to Washington DC on November 9 that military ties between the two countries should be made into a stabilizer of the overall China-US relationship.

Brown said that senior officials are not the only important ones in military ties between the two countries.

Young soldiers and mid-ranked officers also gain an understanding of their counterparts and "that will help no matter what happens in the Indo-Pacific region," Brown said.

Dong Bo, Chinese head of the medical staff at the DME, told the Global Times on Friday that the PLA and US soldiers cooperated harmoniously together to the point that they did not need an interpreter all the time and were able to understand each other through simple pictures and gestures.

Several US participants told the Global Times on Saturday that they love China and were learning simple Chinese expressions like "nihao," or hello.

Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Saturday that humanitarian aid and disaster relief is one of the practical fields where the two countries can work together to maintain regional stability and peace.

Both officers and soldiers from the two sides would like to have win-win cooperation in these fields rather than compete against each other regarding disputed issues, Song said, noting that this is how military ties function as a stabilizer for the overall relations between the two countries.

With exchanges like this, China and the US are trying to find more consensuses and seek more opportunities to cooperate and develop, Song noted.

More cooperation to come

Qin said that he hopes that humanitarian aid and disaster relief can act as a starting point to expanding to other areas of interest common to both sides.

Brown noted that peacekeeping, counter-piracy and counter-drug efforts are all fields where both countries have common interests.

Experts said that China and the US reached a consensus on strengthening communication and risk control, an agreement which could guarantee military exchanges are not interrupted by escalating trade frictions.



Posted in: MILITARY,CHINA-US

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