Officials from the Chinese military visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray on Friday for discussions on preparations for natural disasters with Army and National Guard leaders.
The visit focused on humanitarian assistance following emergencies, an issue that is seen as a potential point of collaboration between the U.S. and China. Chinese officials participated in a similar forum last year in Hawaii with Army Pacific.
At Camp Murray, Chinese officials led by Lt. Gen. Li Zuocheng visited the state’s Emergency Management Division and received briefings on the National Guard’s response to wildfires and the March 2014 Oso mudslide, National Guard spokesman Capt. Joe Siemandel said. They also discussed the state’s preparations for earthquakes and tsunamis.
Military officials from Asian nations visit JBLM about twice a month. I Corps, JBLM’s Army headquarters, is an arm of Army Pacific, and it is responsible for nurturing partnerships between the U.S. and allied ground forces.
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A delegation from India visited JBLM in March. More frequent visitors include delegations from traditional U.S. allies such as Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.
The Pentagon on Friday published its annual report on Chinese military capabilities. It noted that official defense spending by the Chinese government is growing at a rate of 9.5 percent a year.
The report also highlighted military-to-military exchanges that it said could encourage China to “uphold international rules and norms.”
“U.S. policy toward China is based on the premise that it is in both countries’ interests to expand practical cooperation in areas where both countries’ interests overlap, and to constructively manage differences,” the report said.