Visiting U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Gary Roughead said on Thursday that the Chinese navy was adopting a more open approach.
"The visit of the USS Jeneau is indicative of improved military relations and transparency between the People's Liberation Army (PLA) navy and the U.S. navy," Roughead said.
The USS Jeneau, the U.S. navy's only forward-deployed amphibious transport dock, is paying a five-day visit to Zhanjiang, a port city in South China's Guangdong Province.
It will also take part in the second phase of the joint search-and-rescue exercise between the two navies, scheduled for Nov. 19.
The first phase in September consisted of communications and passing exercises held in the waters off Hawaii.
"I believe the exercise will be a good opportunity for us to increase transparency," said Roughead, who will oversee the upcoming exercise.
"It is important because two professional and capable navies work together and contribute to peace, security and stability in the region in which we live."
On Thursday morning, the admiral watched a demonstration of military skills by the Chinese Marine Corps. The 30-minute demonstration involved boxing skills, light machine gun shooting, speed rifle shooting, basic combat training and squad tactics.
"It is clear to me that you are very fit and you execute your duties with great precision," Roughead told about 300 Chinese marines after the demonstration. "When I see your pride, fitness, precision and your drive for excellence, I realize that you have much in common with the U.S. marines."
During his week-long China tour, Roughead also met with senior Chinese government officials and military officers in Beijing.
"I have seen in my visit to China that our two navies and marines have much in common," the admiral said.
"I believe that gives us opportunities to continue to engage with one another to increase cooperation between our navies and marines, and to look for opportunities where we can do things in common and increase the understanding between our countries," Roughead said.
This is Roughead's first visit to China since he became U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander in July 2005.