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British Officer: Basic Maritime Drills Useful and Important

Basic maritime drills are useful and important to navies of the whole world, said David Snelson, chief of staff warfare to commander-in-chief of the fleet of British Royal Navy, in Qingdao Friday.

Before the first ever Chinese-British joint naval exercise off the shore of East China Sea, due to be held on Sunday, Snelson took an interview of Xinhua.

The British fleet, including guided missile destroyer HMS Exeter and replenishment ship RFA Grey, will hold a search-and- rescue drills with guided missile destroyer Harbin and replenishment ship Hongze Lake of the North Sea Fleet of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

Although the communication exercises, flag voices, helicopter maneuvers, search and rescue are all basic drills, but these drills "lay a solid foundation" and are "important to all the navies of the world", he said.

As for the upcoming drills, he said, "we need time to better understand each other since we have differences in languages, communication methods, commanding means and so on."

He described the drill as "the first step" and considered that the two sides " can upgrade the level of joint military drills step by step in the future."

All the commanding orders for different stages of Sunday's exercises will be made by translators, military sources said, adding whether the two sides can accurately understand the orders will influence their performance and cooperation.

The British fleet arrived at Qingdao Thursday. HMS Exeter is the seventh Type-42 Destroyer and the fifth ship to hold the name. The vessel was laid down on 22 July 1976 and launched on 25 April 1978.

(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2004)

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