Chinese Navy officers return from US tour

Updated: 2015-02-09 11:24

By Zuo Zhuo in New York(China Daily USA)

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A delegation of Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy officers returned to Beijing after a visit to US Navy facilities, the first extensive exchange between operational officers of the two countries, China News Service reported.

The delegation of 29 PLA Navy officers, most of who were born during the 1980s, included commanding officers, executive officers, operations specialists, submariners and aviators. The visit was meant to increase communication between new generations of naval officers from China and the United States.

The Chinese delegation visited Washington, Newport, Rhode Island, and New York; they toured the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and held seminars with students there before returning on Feb 6.

"The visit has a positive role in building a new model of major power relationship and boosting the military relationships between China and the US," said Zhang Junshe, the head of the delegation.

Military-to-military exchanges between the two countries have increased over the last two years. Besides exchanges of high-level visits, the two sides also have tried to increase interactions between relatively low-level officers.

The PLA Navy for the first time participated in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise last summer in and off Hawaii.

Last week, defense officials from the two sides met in the Pentagon for the Defense Policy Coordination Talks.

A Pentagon spokesman described the meeting as "an important component of the broader program of engagements between the two nations' militaries, which seeks to foster sustained and substantive dialogue, deepen practical cooperation in areas of mutual interest and focus on enhancing risk-reduction."

This year's meeting was meant to emphasize the positive momentum sustained in the US-China military-to-military relationship over the past year, which included historic agreements to establish new confidence-building measures between the two militaries, and endorse a robust program of engagements planned for the rest of the year.