Pic: AP.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Defense Chief Gen. David Hurley says China’s contribution to the Indian Ocean search for the missing Malaysian plane showed the trust and familiarity that had developed between the militaries of China and Australia.

Hurley and Defense Secretary Dennis Richardson told a Senate committee on Monday that relations between the two militaries were strong and remained unaffected by strategic rivalry between China — Australia’s most important trade partner — and Australia’s most important security ally, the United States.

Hurley praised China’s contribution of ships and planes to the Australia-led search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which is thought to have crashed off the west Australian coast on March 8 with 239 people aboard, mostly Chinese.

He told the committee the Chinese military “became very much part of the team.”