US Disinvites China from RIMPAC Exercises: Pentagon

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Since 2014, China has taken part in RIMPAC, the world's largest worldwide maritime drill, which is held every two years in Hawaii.

The United States has withdrawn its invitation for China to take part in a major naval exercise on Wednesday, citing the continued militarization of the South China Sea, a Pentagon spokesperson said Wednesday.

The satellite images taken on Sunday by Imagesat International show two new launchers on the northern shore of the Island, next to a radar system, all covered by a camouflage net.

"We believe these recent deployments and the continued militarisation of these features is a violation of the promise that President Xi made to the United States and the World not to militarise the Spratly Islands", Logan said.

Most recently, China announced it had landed long-range bombers on Woody Island in the Paracel Islands, which the Chinese claim as their own but Vietnam and Taiwan also claim.

"We were determined to persuade them to leave and chase them away from the area", Chiem said. Given China's growing military confidence and its heavy investment in the South China Sea, such a move is highly unlikely. Wang said at a press conference.

China maintains that the South China Sea is its sovereign territory and that it is within its rights to build up defenses on the islands.

-China ties and it remains clear that despite the recent thaw in the brewing trade war, relations between Beijing and Washington are poised for a significant period of turbulence - one that may become elongated. He said at a joint press conference afterwards that the move was not constructive and was "unhelpful to the trust and cooperation between the Chinese and U.S. militaries".

The US has been complaining about China's Navy for years on end, and has mostly expressed its displeasure by sailing past Chinese islands, and saying that those operations were intended specifically to prove their displeasure at those claims.

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RIMPAC, an event led by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, is a biennial joint naval exercise involving dozens of ships from multiple countries.

Ding Duo, a researcher at the Chinese government-backed National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said Beijing needs a military presence in the Spratlys to protect its civilian infrastructure.

The Pentagon has pulled its invitation for China to join maritime exercises in the Pacific because of Beijing's "continued militarization" of the South China Sea amid increased tensions between the two nations.

US Defense Secretary Mattis is scheduled to travel to China and Japan at the end of June, defense officials have acknowledged.

The strategic South China Sea is rich in energy reserves, fishery resources and is a busy shipping route. It comes at a time of considerable uncertainty in U.S.

Trump also escalated tensions with North Korea today after he called off a planned nuclear disarmament summit with Kim Jong Un after the communist leader insulted VP Mike Pence.

The United States has not taken sides in the disputes in the region.

A Pentagon official said that China was notified about its exclusion from the exercises, which last about a month, on Wednesday morning.

China views its RimPac participation "as a sign of its worldwide legitimacy", said Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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