The Chinese army for the first time has deployed armored medical vehicles and personnel to Europe to conduct training with the German military, marking a groundbreaking foray into NATO territory.
The exercise, dubbed Combined Aid 2019 and involving about 100 Chinese People’s Liberation Army medics, is a joint drill in the Bavarian town of Feldkirchen focused on responding to a simulated cholera outbreak.
The exercise takes place at a time of growing strains between the German government and the Trump administration over a range of issues, including Berlin’s laggard defense spending and Germany’s support for a natural gas pipeline from Russia.
“The participating teams will practice joint command and control and will learn to cooperate in treating and managing mass casualties in large-scale disease outbreaks,” the Chinese Defense Ministry said in multiple state-controlled media outlets as the exercises began last week.
The two-week exercise set to end July 17 has garnered headlines in China, where the training in Germany was characterized as part of an effort to strengthen ties with European nations.
SOURCE: JOHN VANDIVER
STARS AND STRIPES