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Official: China-US Joint Exercise Successful
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According to the Chinanews' report on Monday, Gu Wengen, South China Sea Fleet commander of the Navy of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), said the joint search-and-rescue exercise by the navies of China and United States on November 18-19 in the South China Sea further demonstrates the good search-and-rescue commanding skills and strong cooperative spirits on the sea. 

He said the exercise made substantial achievements and improved the cooperative ability between the two armed forces in maritime search-and-rescue operations.

Gu also said this exercise is the largest, longest and most substantial one held with any foreign naval force. It also represents the most comprehensive communication between the South China Sea fleet and the US Pacific Fleet.

The exercise involved China's guided missile destroyer Zhanjiang, the fuel tanker Dongting Lake, and the USS Juneau (LPD 10) and the USS missile destroyer Fitzgerald for the USA. China's Yun-7 transport plane and the US P-3C patrol plane also participated in the exercise.

The exercise set broad targets like communication drills, assembly on the sea, squadron flight and joint search-and-rescue. During the exercise the two forces carried out the first nighttime communication drill, and the first drill of entering the cabin to putting out fires and searching for trapped personnel.

In terms of organization, both parties found and identified targets through practical searches and set the scenario according to random situations, testing their ability to act and dispose of threats according to circumstances.

Both parties exchanged commands during the exercises to enhance mutual understanding on commanding styles, methods and execution.

This was the first time the Chinese navy employed regulations on unexpected encounter on sea and maneuver tactics which were adopted by NATO and non-NATO countries without an advance agreement to communicate with and identify American ships during the exercise.

The Chinese navy has gained precious experience on unexpected encounters and joint action with a foreign navy. It also sets a basis for later maritime joint action between the two parties.

According to Gu, this exercise highlights the exchanges on related issues. When both parties dispatched observers to the other side, they specified that observers could freely size up the situation at the respective command posts. Meanwhile, both parties organized view demonstration between rescue teams. After the exercises, the observers from two sides exchanged in-depth views.

The event is the second phase of the first-ever joint Sino-American search-and-rescue exercise, as agreed on by Chinese and US military leaders. The first phase took place in September off Hawaii and consisted of communications and passing exercises.


( by Li Shen and Zhou Jing, November 21, 2006)

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