by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) March 23, 2016
The United States said Tuesday it is "reassessing" China's participation in a large naval drill in the Pacific this year, amid tensions with Beijing over maritime claims.
China took part in RIMPAC -- the largest international naval exercises in the Pacific involving some 20 countries every two years under US leadership -- for the first time in 2014.
But soon after China's initial participation, aimed at reducing distrust, renewed incidents caused tensions to flare up anew.
China's land reclamation and military buildup in the South China Sea have drawn international condemnation, including from the United States.
The Chinese "have an invitation for RIMPAC and we will continue to review that," Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the House Armed Services Committee.
"Our strategy in the Asia Pacific is not to exclude anyone, but to keep the security architecture going there, in which everyone participates," he testified at a hearing.
"China is, however, self-isolating... that's why all these partners are coming to us."
"We are constantly reassessing" the opportunity to have China participate in the exercise, Carter added.
US Pacific Command chief Admiral Harry Harris has warned lawmakers that Beijing was "clearly militarizing" the South China Sea.
Washington recently struck an accord with the Philippines, making it possible for US forces to rotate through five bases there -- including those close to the South China Sea.
China claims virtually all the South China Sea, despite conflicting partial claims by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines.
It has been asserting its claim by occupying more reefs and outcrops in these waters, and building artificial islands, including airstrips on some of them.
This year, RIMPAC is due to take place in June and July. RIMPAC 2014 involved 23 counties, some 50 ships, six submarines and more than 25,000 troops.
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|