Asia Minute: Hawaii-Based Soldiers Engage with Chinese Counterparts

Nov 13, 2020

Updated: 11/13/2020, 11:50 a.m. There’s an unusual military collaboration underway this week involving U.S. personnel based in Hawaii and Chinese soldiers. It comes at a time when there is some tension and uncertainty in the broader relationship between the two countries.

 

This is not a military exercise involving ground troops and aircraft and maneuvers.

 

It’s focused on potential U.S.-Chinese military cooperation with humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

About 25 people from each side will attend what the U.S. Army calls an “expert academic discussion.”

 

The meetings will be held over a video link—with the Chinese side in Nanjing—in eastern China—and the U.S. team at Schofield Barracks on Oahu.

 

The South China Morning Post quoted a statement from China’s Defense Ministry saying discussions will include “Covid-19 prevention and control, a cooperative response to floods and typhoons and civil-military cooperation.”

 

This small event takes place at a time of an awkward transition in Washington and some tension in East Asia.

 

Four top Pentagon officials have been replaced this week—including the Secretary of Defense, while Taiwan has remained a focus for China.

 

Foreign Policy magazine reports that the day before the U.S. election, Chinese aircraft flew into Taiwanese airspace on eight separate occasions.

 

On Wednesday, the Defense Department denied regional reports that special operations Marines were working with forces on Taiwan this week.

 

As for the virtual event involving troops from U.S. Army Pacific and Chinese soldiers, that will wrap up tomorrow.