Feature: Chinese, Australian soldiers make friends for life during joint military exercise Pandaroo


SYDNEY, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Although the week-long bilateral military training mission, Exercise Pandaroo 2018, has almost come to the end, the bonds made between participating soldiers from China and Australia will last a lifetime.

"We have a lot of similarities between our Chinese and Australian soldiers," Commander of the 6th Brigade in the Australian Army Brigadier Susan Coyle told Xinhua on Wednesday.

"They are all based on the same values of mutual respect, teamwork and friendship and they have made friends for life."

Focused on adventure training, 10 personnel from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and 10 from the Australian Army formed a team in a series of grueling exercises around Sydney which involved rock-climbing, abseiling and sea kayaking.

"Through adversity, friendships form a lot quicker than normal," Coyle said.

"And because they've had to do some pretty tough and demanding things, like abseil down 200 meter cliffs in the Blue Mountains, I think their friendships have formed strongly together."

But as well as the arduous mountain training, the elite participants were also made to sea kayak more than 60 km over the past few days in cold, windy and rough conditions.

Standing in the rain next to her kayak on a Sydney Harbour beach, Australian Army Private Louise Maguire appeared unconcerned.

"Today's conditions actually haven't been too challenging," she said.

"We had much worse conditions on day two when we hit quite rough surf."

"For me, it was the rock climbing late at night that was most challenging, we were doing that until about two o'clock in the morning and I'm not particularly good with heights."

Due to the extreme difficulty, Maguire said by necessity Australian and Chinese soldiers had to come together in order to accomplish the exercises, adding that the people involved all shared an enthusiastic, determined attitude.

With this year's training program more intense than ever before, it's also the first time that China has dispatched female soldiers to take part down under.

"Through the four years of cooperation during these joint exercises, the Australia army's professionalism has left a lasting impact on me," PLA Senior Colonel Zeng Bin said.

"And this year we have received very positive feedback from our women soldiers."

One of those groundbreaking participants is the PLA's Ou Feng, who said the chilly, wet weather did not dampen the warmth she received from her Australian counterparts.

"Australian soldiers are very friendly, we became very good friends during the training."

"The most challenging part of the training was climbing on a 90-degree cliff at night."

"I climbed to the top of the cliff first and my Australian teammate trusted me, to give me her hand, so I could pull her up to the top."

"As a female soldier, our physical strength might not be as good as the males, but we cooperate in the process of the mission, and work together toward our goal," Ou Feng added.



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