Soldiers from China and the United States wrapped up a week of joint disaster relief drills on Saturday, in a display of cooperation against a backdrop of worsening ties between the two countries over trade, the disputed South China Sea and self-ruled Taiwan.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have plumbed new depths under U.S. President Donald Trump, who is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Argentina starting late this month.

The exercise, held in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, comes a week after Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe and top diplomat Yang Jiechi visited Washington, where U.S. officials urged China to halt militarization of the South China Sea.

But there was no sign of those strains as Chinese and U.S. soldiers simulated plucking people from earthquake-destroyed buildings and treating survivors’ injuries at a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) base on the outskirts of Nanjing.

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By Ian Dei

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