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The Chinese and US militaries began joint drills on humanitarian relief and disaster rescue on the US West Coast.

The event, which began on Monday, will be held in three stages in Portland, Oregon, with the first three days involve meetings and discussions before four days of command post exercises and field maneuvers against the backdrop of flooding and other climatic disasters.

At this stage, 35 representatives from both sides will set up a multinational coordination center to simulate humanitarian and disaster relief and rescue operations in a third country.

These activities will follow standard operational procedures for relief and rescue by multinational troops adopted at a defense ministers' meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Troops from the People's Liberation Army of China and the US Army Pacific Command and its Coast Guards will practice water-surface helicopter rescue, debris and narrow-space rescue operations and the fast building of pontoon bridges.

This week's military-to-military exchanges are part of institutional exchange programs between China and the US.

Since the program was first launched in 1997, more than 400 people from both sides have participated in various exchange activities, and 13 sessions of tabletop discussions, five command post exercises and four field maneuvers have been carried out.

Xinhua