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ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — After Chinese military officials observed a large-scale U.S. exercise, several of their American counterparts — on both sea and land — expressed interest in China returning the favor.

An exchange makes for a more “human” relationship between the two world powers, Lt. Gen. David Deptula said Wednesday.

“If something happens, and the leadership knows each other, they can pick up the phone and talk about it,” Deptula said in a video-teleconference broadcast to Andersen Air Force Base. “We would like them to reciprocate. One of the ways to secure peace and stability in the region is to learn about culture and communication and understand each other on a personal basis.”

Deptula is running the joint U.S. Navy/Air Force air operations of Valiant Shield this week — the largest exercise of its kind in a decade.

He declined comment on a Pentagon report in May that cites Beijing as a potential threat. That’s not the purpose of the exercise, he said.

“We want to develop as partners in the Far East,” Deptula said. “We’re bringing our forces together not because of a potential threat, but to project peace, power and presence.”

The USS Ronald Reagan hosted the 10 delegates from the People’s Republic of China on Sunday. It was the first time any of them had landed on an aircraft carrier, said Strike Group Seven commander Rear Adm. Michael Miller.

“It was all smiles when they came out of the plane,” Miller said. “They were fascinated by what we do.”

Destroyer Squadron Seven commander Capt. David Steindl had lunch with a Chinese general, he said. The subject of anti-submarine warfare didn’t come up but they talked about other things, Steindl said.

“We’re trying to be transparent and we’d like them to reciprocate with us,” he said.

Ronald Reagan commanding officer Capt. Terry Kraft also spoke of transparency with the Chinese.

“If I was invited out there, I would be honored and certainly go,” Kraft said.

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