>> Two powerful militaries and a lot of mutual suspicion. But Beijing and Washington are putting their differences on hold, wrapping up a three-day drill in the Chinese city of Kunming on Friday. The exercise is steering clear of combat, focusing instead on rescue and relief. Troops from both sides running through scenarios from earthquakes to capsized boats.
Reuters Ben Blanchard reports from the scene.>> The time of rising tensions between the two countries in the South China Sea and also the Chinese anger over the American deployment of an advance missile system in South Korea. These kinds of drills are very important for ensuring that day to day cooperation, that mutual trust is able to be continued between both countries.
While these drills were planned many months in advance, certainly the election of Donald Trump will add a new air of uncertainty to relations between China and the United States.>> This is the fourth year China and the US have held the drills. The goal is to give soldiers from both sides a chance to get to know each other, building trust from the lower ranks up instead of just relying on top brass to do all the talking.
It's a great opportunity for us to work proactively with the Chinese army. And it also helps to build ourselves as individuals and widen our expertise with joint and international affairs. On the Chinese side, there seems to be an equal measure of goodwill. One soldier telling Reuters that as well as forging military ties, this is a great opportunity to work on his English.