Chinese soldiers will join disaster training on Hawaii
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (MCT)
Chinese soldiers from the People's Liberation Army will take part in a "disaster management exchange" on Oahu, Hawaii, next month with soldiers from U.S. Army Pacific and the Hawaii Army National Guard.
The Army Corps of Engineers and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency also will participate in the Nov. 12-14 exchange.
The two countries will work side by side to respond to injuries from a simulated collapse of a building due to a typhoon, an official said. Role players will be used in the exchange at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows.
The U.S. will have 50 participants, including soldiers, civilians and two Marine observer/participants. The Chinese will have 60 participants to include soldiers and observers.
"This is our largest annual event between the U.S. Army and the PLA," said Col. Bill Florig, chief of U.S. Army Pacific civil military operations. "What we are trying to emphasize in this exchange is our inherent flexibility. They are looking to see that flexibility that we have demonstrated so often in the past in disaster response."
The Disaster Management Exchange is an annual U.S. Army Pacific security cooperation event with the PLA. The exchanges began in 1998.
"This is the first time we have had a field portion for this exchange with U.S. soldiers training in the field with Chinese soldiers," said Col. John Lee, strategy and plans officer for U.S. Army Pacific's Security, Cooperation and Policy Directorate. "We want to show that we can work together and cooperate on something important to all of us here in the Pacific: disaster management."
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2000 prohibits combat training with China but allows search-and-rescue operations, humanitarian assistance, anti-piracy initiatives and other cooperation.