Chinese and the US militaries on Wednesday started an online seminar to share experiences on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, China’s Ministry of National Defence said, amid rising tensions between the two countries over the disputed South China Sea and Taiwan.
The three-day exchange event, 16th of its kind, will cover topics including the military’s participation in fighting floods and typhoons, and in Covid-19 pandemic prevention and control, as well as military-civilian cooperation.
The seminar was held both in China’s Nanjing and the United States’s Hawaii via video link, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
On October 29, China’s defence spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian told an online media briefing here that senior defence officials of China and the US held telephone talks amid deepening military tensions between the two countries and agreed to properly manage their differences.
Senior officials from both militaries have had a telephonic conversation and agreed to strengthen communication, properly manage differences and disagreements, and expand cooperation in fields of common interests, Wu said.
Asked whether China-US military exchanges could proceed as normal as they faced multiple challenges coupled with the severe Covid-19 pandemic, Wu said working groups from the two militaries have conducted video conferences on crisis communication.
The US-China military tensions heightened in recent months over the disputed South China Sea and Taiwan.
China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea area while the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over it.
The US in recent months has stepped up naval and aerial patrols over the area to assert the right of freedom of navigation. The Chinese military closely tailed the US patrols sparking tensions.
China is also concerned over US naval ships travel through the Taiwan straits and high-tech arms sales to Taiwan, which Beijing claims as part of its mainland.