CA visits China – and Ex Kowari survivors

On his first trip to China as the Chief of the Australian Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell last week, met with the Commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Army General Li Zuocheng – and survivors of Exercise Kowari.

CAPTIONAustralian Army soldier Lance Corporal Vinnie Rami guides US Army Sergeant First Class Adam Marques through creating fire using the traditional ‘drill’ method, while two Chinese soldiers look and learn, during Exercise Kowari 2015 in the Daly River region, Northern Territory. Photo by Lance Corporal Kyle Jenner.

CA was accompanied by Australia’s Ambassador to China Jan Adams.

While in Beijing, Lieutenant General Campbell also participated in a roundtable at the PLA National Defence University, where he discussed Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper and the importance of regional Army-to-Army engagements.

Lieutenant General Campbell received a briefing on PLA modernisation and reform and also visited the 6th Armoured Division and received a briefing and tour of their simulation facilities.

“I’m delighted to have spent time with General Li. We had a positive discussion about enhancing our Army-to-Army engagement, and shared views on issues of strategic concern,” Lieutenant General Campbell said.

“We explored the expansion of current training activities like Exercise Kowari, a trilateral Australia-US-China survival exercise, and Exercise Pandaroo, a bilateral Australia-China adventure training exercise.

“We also discussed the possibility of developing additional education and training exchanges between our armies.”

While in China, Lieutenant General Campbell visited members of the 41st Group Army of the PLA’s Southern Theatre Command-Army, past participants of Exercises Kowari and Pandaroo.

“Their recollections of working with both the Australian and US forces on exercise in the Northern Territory are positive and enduring,” Lieutenant General Campbell said.

“Through these exercises, soldiers from across the three countries build teams from the ground-up, while simultaneously taking on austere conditions and physically demanding activities.

“When soldiers face a shared challenge, they often forge bonds that last a lifetime.

“I’m very pleased the members of the 41st Group Army are looking back on their time in Australia fondly, and I look forward to building our already strong ties through future activities.”

Exercise Kowari first commenced in 2014 and involves around 10 members of each of the PLA, the United States and Australian militaries working together to complete survival training in remote Australian bushland.

 

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Brian Hartigan

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