By Zhang Yuan and Lian Zhen
The opening ceremony of the two-day China-Germany joint military exercise on medical support, codenamed “Combined Aid-2019”, was held on July 9. This was the first time for China to dispatch paramedical forces in complete units and with field equipment to attend a joint exercise in Europe. Senior Colonel Song Yu, a member of the Chinese Steering Team in the joint exercise and also an official from the Health Bureau of the Chinese CMC’s Logistic Support Department, introduced the background and significance of this drill as follow.
China and Germany rank among the world’s top countries in terms of military medical support strengths, and have maintained in-depth exchanges and cooperation in the fields of academic research and military training. In 2016, the Chinese and German military medical services successfully carried out the first joint exercise based on a fictitious earthquake scenario in Chongqing, China. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the results and the expectations for further exchanges and cooperation, which finally facilitated the smooth conduct of the second China-Germany joint military exercise on medical support.
“Through this joint exercise, the Chinese and German military paramedical forces will further enhance their capacities in joint operations, emergency response and coordinated rescue. Our experience will provide valuable references for international joint humanitarian medical rescue,” said Senior Colonel Song.
As for the significance of the China’s participation in this exercise, Senior Colonel Song said that PLA’s medical support forces have been actively carrying out international exchanges and cooperation projects, such as helping Sierra Leone and Liberia fight Ebola, participating in the China-Laos “Peace Train” joint humanitarian and medical rescue exercises, and joining the China-Vietnam free medical service in border areas. These activities demonstrate China’s overall strength in military medical support, being welcomed and recognized by the international community and residents of relevant countries.
“This also indicates that as a responsible major country, China is committed to performing its due international obligations and responsibilities, and making contributions to human health as well as world peace and development,” Senior Colonel Song added.
From July 4 to 8, the participating units conducted a joint training to prepare for the full-factor and full-process drill during July 9 to 10. International observers were invited to watch this joint exercise, and Chinese and German observation teams were invited to instruct the exercise and conduct replay study.
During the drill, officers and soldiers from both sides became increasingly acquainted and coordinated with each other, according to Song. They strengthened mutual understanding and reinforced their successful experience.
Song also noted that the German military is particularly interested in the China’s experience in medical rescue in natural disasters, large-scale treatment of the injured, and health and epidemic prevention as well as their equipment, while the Chinese side shows particular interest in the differences between Chinese and German military medical support equipment and ideas.
“Through the platform of the joint exercise, China and Germany can learn from each other, which will play a positive role in further developing their own equipment and technology, enhancing their own medical support capacities and consolidating friendship between the both militaries,” Senior Colonel Song remarked.