" If we can get the planning done for this, we're hopeful we can actually do [the exercise] the first day after we leave here," Cmdr. William Marks, a spokesman for the fleet, told Stars and Stripes.
The move highlights the urges on both sides to repair the rather chilly US-Chinese relationship, which has been strained recently over China's actions in the East and South China seas. There have been a number of incidents over the past few years involving US and Chinese ships, ranging from harassment to near collisions.
"The good news about this is it's a recognition, I think, or acceptance by the Chinese that what we've been saying to them for some time is that military operations and survey operations in another country's [maritime zones] are within international law and are acceptable, and this is a fundamental right that nations have," Adm. Samuel Locklear, of the Navy's Pacific Command, told Stars and Stripes.