The United States has rescinded an invitation to China to participate in the upcoming Rim of the Pacific exercise off Hawaii, a Defense Department spokesman announced Wednesday.
Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Logan said the People’s Liberation Army Navy would not be participating in the exercise, despite its involvement in 2014 and 2016. He said the decision was made because of increasing militarization of disputed islands in the South China Sea.
“As an initial response to China’s continued militarization of the South China Sea we have disinvited the PLA Navy from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific Exercise,” Logan said. “China’s behavior is inconsistent with the principles and purposes of the RIMPAC exercise.”
He cited the deployment of anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles on the Spratly Islands and the landing of a bomber on Woody Island.
RIMPAC is the world’s largest Naval exercise, held every two years and involving nearly two dozen nations, over 50 ships and submarines and hundreds of aircraft.