Chinese military vehicles have been deployed in Europe for the first time as the country’s Liberation Army takes part in drills with German troops.
Military personnel and armoured vehicles of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army are readying themselves for the joint exercise called Combined Aid 2019.
The military exercise is focused on helping prepare Chinese and German troops with medical service units so they are better disposed to respond to a humanitarian crisis.
Chinese tanks land in Hamburg, the first time Chinese military vehicles have been deployed in Europe
Lt Col Walther, deputy commander of a German teaching regiment, meets the PLA’s Colonel Bi at Combined Aid 2019
Colonel Bi in talking with with Colonel Dr. Schmidt and Lt Col Walther during the exercise in Feldkirchen, outside Munich
Matthew Funaiole, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Business Insider: ‘We’ve seen China increasing its participation in these kinds of activities.
‘It provides a low risk means to demonstrate its commitment to global governance, which may help reduce anxiety about its growing military capabilities.
‘Training exercises also help improve its coordination and logistics, which is helpful for the modernization process.’
The exercise follows further cooperation in 2016 in Chongqing, when German and Chinese forces responded to an imaginary earthquake event.
Workers empty the container ship that brought the Chinese equipment into Hamburg
Construction of the Chinese camp at Feldkirchen
Yue Gang, a retired PLA colonel, told the South China Morning Post, there could be further co-operation with Europe.
He said: ‘The PLA in the future will need to go abroad to protect China’s overseas interests in countries along the Belt and Road Initiative.’
‘If there could be some basic mutual trust and understanding with NATO forces, the risk of potential conflict could be greatly mitigated.’
A Chinese tank is hoisted from the container ship it arrived into Hamburg on board
More containers of material arrive at Feldkirchen, where Combined Aid 2019 is taking place
Chinese armoured vehicles arrive at Feldkirchen barracks on board transporter lorries
The Chinese camp takes shape at Feldkirchen barracks to the east of Munich in south Germany
The joint Sino-German drills are dubbed Combined Aid 2019 and are focused on preparing to respond to humanitarian crises including disease outbreaks and natural disasters.
Chinese troops have previously been deployed to help cope with the ebola outbreak in central Africa.
The move comes amidst President Xi’s so-called Belt and Road Initiative, a move to firm-up stronger road and sea links from China to Europe with an aim of helping his nation dominate world trade.