CANBERRA --- The opening ceremony of Exercise Pandaroo 2018 was held here on Monday, marking the start of a joint exercise by soldiers from the Australian Army and the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
This is the fourth joint exercise since 2015, which will last till September 28. Hosted by the Australian Army's 6th Brigade, the exercise this year will see participants undertaking adventure training activities, including abseiling and sea kayaking, focusing on teamwork, friendship and trust among participants from the two countries.
"In recent years, bilateral defense tie between Australia and China has been developing steadily, which played a positive role in deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between our two nations," said Senior Colonel Wang Jingguo, Defence Attache of the Chinese embassy in Australia.
"Through the joint exercise, our soldiers could learn from each other and improve together," he said. "The exercise helps promote the mutual understanding and trust between the two armed forces."
Brigadier Cameron Purdey of the Australian Army said that the exercise is a "fantastic opportunity for us to continue developing our relationship among junior soldiers and junior officers."
The soldiers, 10 from each side, were welcomed by indigenous Aunty Tina Brown with a smoke ceremony. Then Colonel Wang and Brigadier Purdey gave patches to all participants.
"We buddied up the Australian and the Chinese," said Maj. Terri King. "It is important for them to understand that language is not the barrier. Language can be cut down so quickly and so easily."
Fu Dingli, a 24-year-old Chinese soldier who went abroad to join such exercise for the first time, told Xinhua that he was looking forward to gaining more field experience and building relationship with the Australian counterparts.
In the following 10 days, soldiers from both sides will have exercises in the Blue Mountains and Sydney regions in New South Wales.
Exercise Pandaroo 2018 followed Exercise Kowari earlier this month featuring Chinese, Australian and U.S. armed forces, and Exercise Kakadu, Australia's largest maritime military exercise to which China sent a warship for the first time.