The U.S. Coast Guard now visits foreign ports. What can we accomplish with a presence aboard?
News coverage in mid-December 1997 highlighted upcoming U.S.-Chinese talks to explore joint exercises between the two states' military forces, focusing on humanitarian missions and search-and-rescue operations. Among several goals, Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon explained that "These talks are designed to increase understanding, to increase transparency." He recognized, however, that the Chinese have been "wary" of working closely with the U.S. military, especially in joint exercises that had never before been carried out—because they are concerned about revealing weaknesses.
But there was no mention of the increasingly close and productive relationship between the smallest of the five U.S. military services and the Chinese armed forces.