David Thomas is an expert on doing business in China. With a successful history of forging global business relationships, David helps leaders, entrepreneurs and investors solve the China puzzle. As part of that, he’s launched a daily email newsletter ‘China Bites’ which you can read here on Targeting China.

I’m not sure if you know this, and I certainly didn’t but, according to Katie Howe in The Diplomat, “for the past six years, regardless of tensions experienced across the region, Australia has played host to a trilateral military exercise involving the United States and China. Providing practical field experience in collaborative problem solving, leadership, and teamwork, Kowari involves a select group of participants from the Australian Army, U.S. Army and Marines, and Chinese forces. Referred to as “the mother of corporate bonding events” by one source close to the exercise, its purpose is to build confidence measures, trust and effective communication among the three nations in an outdoor adventure environment”.

The article goes on to explain that this annual activity, which appears to be a very worthwhile exercise in developing “camaraderie and person-to-person relationships”, has had to maintain a low profile this year due to geopolitical tensions, especially the US China Trade War, but has nevertheless continued to “build confidence measures, trust and effective communication among the three nations in an outdoor adventure environment….from China’s perspective, Kowari is one of many joint military exercises in which it participates. Each year the country is involved in similar initiatives with nations such as Russia, Cambodia, Singapore, and Germany”.

This reminds me of what became known as “The Christmas Truce” during the First World War in December 1914 when British troops peeked over their trenches and were surprised to see Christmas trees lit with candles on the other side, and German soldiers singing Christmas carols. Let’s hope the Kowari exercise continues for many years to come.

Photo Credits: US. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Emmanuel Ramos

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