China's participation in the U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise will help enhance the exchanges and cooperation among the navies, the commanding officer of the Chinese formation said Tuesday.
It will increase the friendship among the participating nations and will also "promote a new type of military relations between China and the United States that are headed in a healthy and stable direction," Wang Sheqiang told Xinhua on the sidelines of a press conference for the multinational exercise.
RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series hosted every two years by the U.S. Pacific Fleet since 1971. It is the world's largest international maritime maneuver with 26 participating nations. Denmark, Germany and Italy participated for the first time this year.
Some 45 ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the five-week exercise from June 30 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and southern California.
U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift said at a press conference on Tuesday that inclusivity, continuity and place are the three key elements of the exercise this year.
He said the exercise is an effort by the international maritime community to ensure "the norms, standards, rules and laws that have provided the great stability and security, the foundation for prosperity that we've all enjoyed for the last 70 years."
The U.S. commander said that "place" means the exercise is "about the ocean and seas that connect our navies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific ocean region, a vast maritime theater in which we are all deeply invested."
"All the 26 nations participating share common interests ... It's fitting the world's largest maritime exercise is centered on the world's largest and most important ocean," Swift added.
Scholars said the fact that China is invited to participate in the exercise shows the cooperation between China and the United States despite their differences.
China sent a fleet of about 1,200 soldiers and officers to join the exercise. As agreed, they will take part in drills including gunfire, damage control and rescue, anti-piracy, search and rescue, diving and submarine rescue. Sports events and exchanges will also be held.
This will enhance China's capability to cope with non-traditional security threats and help to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, Wang said.