By AUDREY McAVOY
ABOARD THE USCGC WAESCHE (AP) - China is practicing boarding ships looking for pirates and contraband as it joins the world's largest maritime exercises for the first time.
China has four ships and two helicopters in the Rim of the Pacific exercises the U.S. is hosting in Hawaii waters this month.
On Wednesday, Chinese sailors boarded the Coast Guard cutter Waesche for a drill checking cargo. The Americans played the role of a merchant ship carrying valuable paintings.
Analysts and commanders say it's important for different nations to exercise together so they can work cooperatively in real-world situations.
It's also valuable for militaries to learn to understand one another better so they can prevent any miscalculations that might accidentally escalate into conflict.