Chinese, US militaries practice disaster relief

Chinese, US militaries practice disaster relief

HAWAII - Imagine an earthquake following a hurricane that has just crashed ashore, shoving a 6-meter-high wall of water inland. Communities have been leveled by both storm and tremor. Buried in the debris, people are crying for help. Chaos reigns, and survivors of all ages are suffering.

To the rescue comes a new cavalry - a mixture of Chinese and US soldiers working together to relieve the victims.

In Hawaii on Thursday, international media witnessed the conclusion of joint exercises, in which Chinese and US military personnel demonstrated how they could cooperate for disaster relief.

The drills began on Tuesday at Bellows Air Force Station on the island of Oahu.

"It is not difficult for me to communicate with our US partners as I have learned English for years and was part of the (UN) peacekeeping mission in Lebanon," Yin Chunhong, a colonel from Kunming General Hospital of Chengdu Military Area Command, told China Daily.

She is among 48 Chinese officers and soldiers from different departments who were chosen to participate in the drill.

"Through face-to-face communication and field drills, soldiers from both countries enhanced mutual trust and now have a better understanding about each other's disaster relief approaches," said Liu Yongwei, a Chinese sergeant.

It was the ninth disaster-relief exchange between China and the United States. Last year's exercise took place in the Chengdu Military Area Command.

Gary Hara, deputy commander of the Army National Guard at US Army Pacific, said the drill is a "historic moment". He said he is very happy that the US military has the opportunity to communicate with Chinese officers and soldiers.

"Right now, the focus remains on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief," he said. "We would like to keep this type of environment and make it more complex in the future. American soldiers learned a lot from the Chinese side."

"Initially, the PLA (People's Liberation Army) did one event and the US did another," Hara said. "And now you can see us working side by side on the same event. That is the real progress we made here."

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