PORTLAND, the United States, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese and U.S. militaries began joint drills on humanitarian relief and disaster rescue in Portland, Oregon, on the U.S. West Coast.
The event, scheduled from Nov. 13 to Nov. 20, will be held in three stages in Portland, the largest city in Oregon, with the first three days focused on tabletop exchanges and discussions before four days of command post exercises and field manoeuvers against the backdrop of flooding and other climatic disasters.
At this stage, 35 representatives from both sides will set up a multinational coordination center to simulate humanitarian and disaster relief and rescue operations in a third country.
These activities will follow standard operation procedures for relief and rescue by multinational troops adopted at a defense ministers' meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
During joint drills, troops from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command and the U.S. Army Pacific and its Coast Guards will practice water-surface helicopter rescue, debris and narrow-space rescue operations and fast building of pontoon bridges.
This week's military-to-military exchanges and drills are part of institutional exchange programs between China and the United States.
Since the program was first launched in 1997, more than 400 people from both sides have participated in various exchange activities, and 13 sessions of tabletop discussions, five command post exercises and four field manoeuvers have been carried out.
Such exchanges have helped the Chinese and U.S. militaries learn from each other on their respective humanitarian relief experiences, and played an important role in deepening the practical cooperation between China and the United States.