Friday, November 18, 2016

Washington, Beijing: Military Drills Must Continue Under New US Administration

Commanders from both sides emphasized on Friday that maintaining exchanges between the two militaries is crucial to improving relations under the administration of President-elect Donald Trump.
The US-China Disaster Management Exchange, first held in 2005, was initiated to help soothe tensions between China and the US over territorial claims in the South China Sea. The drills typically last a week and feature command-post exercises, a simulated disaster scenario for troop exercises, and various academic exchanges. 

Gen. Liu Xiaowu, ground forces commander for China's Southern Theater Command remarked, "This kind of exchange acts as a bridge to promote relations between the two militaries and I am sure it will be conducted in an even higher level in the future…No matter who is president, as long as it's aimed at humanitarian relief to help relieve suffering of those in disaster zones, it will win support." 

His American counterpart, US Army Pacific Commander Gen. Robert Brown, stressed to the future Trump administration the importance of continuing the drills. "These types of military-to-military exchanges are really critical because of the trust they build," he said.  

 Brown added, "I would give my best military advice, if asked at the appropriate time in the transition, that these type of military-to-military exchanges are really critical because of that trust they build." 

Stars and Stripes quotes US. Army Capt. Jeremy Reynolds, "It has been a very successful exchange of ideas between our two militaries and it will definitely benefit us in organization in the future." 

Although China does not appreciate the presence of the US Navy in the South China Sea, Beijing and Washington have continued to hold joint naval exercises, including recent drills off the Hawaiian coast centered around humanitarian disasters, along with other multinational drills. 

Trump has not commented on a defense policy regarding China, although he has made inflammatory statements about Beijing in regards to trade. During an August campaign stop in Florida, the billionaire told an audience, "I'm going to instruct my treasury secretary to label China a currency manipulator! The greatest in the world!"  

Using engineering equipment and helicopters, 89 US military personnel took part in Friday’s drill, along with 134 personnel from China.

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