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Friendly Competition Ahead of Sino-US Joint Marine Drill
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Forty marines from the United States and China took part in an obstacle course competition in Zhanjiang, a port city in South China's Guangdong Province, ahead of a forthcoming search-and-rescue exercise.


The competition marked the first face-to-face exchanges between two marine forces. The 40 marines were divided up into two mixed teams and were required to overcome ten obstacles on a 400-meter runway.


Marcus Annibale, the head of 20 US marines, said he was most impressed by the fact that a US marine and a Chinese marine ran together towards the finish line and then hugged and shook hands.


"We will remember today for ever as this is the first time that the two marines have met and trained together," Annibale said. "I have seen a brotherhood between our marines."


Chen Weidong, who headed the Chinese marines, said that the fitness and strong will of the US marines were impressive.


The marines also had a shooting drill and a lunch together.


The exchanges between the two marines not only demonstrated their special military skills, but also provided a way for them to learn from each other, said Gu Wengen, commander of the South China Sea fleet of the Navy of the People's Liberation Army.


A total of 200 US marines have come to China with the USS Juneau, which is paying a five-day visit to Zhanjiang. Both Chinese and US marines will participate in the second phase of the joint search-and-rescue exercise between the two navies, scheduled for Nov. 19.


The exercise will involve China's guided missile destroyer "Zhanjiang", fuel tanker "Dongting Lake", the USS Juneau and the USS missile destroyer "Fitzgerald."


The first phase in September consisted of communications and passing exercises held in the waters off Hawaii.


(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2006)

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