USA disinvites China from Pacific military exercises: Pentagon

He said the Pentagon has strong evidence that China has deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems and electronic jammers to "contested features" in the Spratly Islands region of the South China Sea.

China's Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi said the United States decision to exclude it from RIMPAC was 'very non-constructive'.

Spokesperson of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Le Thi Thu Hang also said China's acts have adversely affected negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) between the ASEAN and China, fueled tensions and caused instability in the region, and hampered efforts to maintain peace, stability and cooperation in the East Sea.

Almost a third of global trade passes through the South China Sea and Beijing has bigger commercial and military ambitions for this strategic sea area, said William Choong, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea, despite overlapping claims by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Private sector data analysis reviewed by Reuters shows Subi, some 1,200 km (750 miles) from China's coast, is now home to almost 400 individual buildings - far more than other Chinese islands.

FILE - A sailor in China's People's Liberation Army Navy hoists the Chinese flag after arriving at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam to participate in the multinational military exercise RIMPAC in Honolulu, Hawaii, June 29, 2016. Last week's landing of a bomber on Woody Island will likely be followed up soon with military aircraft visiting airstrips of Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef-the so-called "big three" of China's seven artificial islands.

They also claimed that by establishing a civilian presence, China will cement its claim of the disputed South China Sea.

The decision to withdraw China's invitation was made by Defense Secretary James Mattis in coordination with the White House, according to a United States official, after Beijing's recent deployment of missile systems and the first landing of a Chinese bomber on an island in the South China Sea.

Pentagon officials have long complained that China has not been candid enough about its rapid military build-up and using South China Sea islands to gather intelligence in the region. -China relations. Washington and Beijing are engaged in negotiations aimed at averting a trade war. He added that both the US and China are "big countries" and there should be "greater cooperation at mil-to-mil (military) exchanges to increase mutual trust". "The PLA will be able to use these bases to challenge USA presence in the region, and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants".

China had attended the exercises previously but has been kept out of the drill this year.

Nonetheless, it appears that China is entrenched to the point that it can not be forced out of the South China Sea.

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

The Navy announced a year ago that China's PLA navy was invited to RIMPAC 2018. It's unhelpful to mutual understanding between China and the US.

"We were determined to persuade them to leave and chase them away from the area", Chiem said. "China's behavior and actions have become more recalcitrant, more aggressive, more dismissive of the rule of law, and more risky to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region despite the United States' engagement policy".

But the United States now says China's behaviour in the South China Sea runs counter to the spirit of the drills.

  • Jon Douglas