U.S. disinvites China from Pacific military exercise

By Tony Bertuca / May 23, 2018 at 12:11 PM

The U.S. military has disinvited the Chinese navy from the Rim of the Pacific joint military exercise because of Beijing's actions in the South China Sea to "raise tensions and destabilize the region," according to a Pentagon statement.

"The United States is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific," the Pentagon states. "China's behavior is inconsistent with the principles and purposes of the RIMPAC exercise."

The Pentagon asserts its has "strong evidence" that China has deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missile systems and electronic jammers to contested areas in the Spratly Islands region of the South China Sea.

"China's landing of bomber aircraft at Woody Island has also raised tensions," according to the Pentagon, referencing China's largest military outpost in the South China Sea.

Though China maintains that the construction on the islands is to "ensure safety at sea, navigation assistance, search and rescue, fisheries protection, and other non-military functions the placement of these weapon systems is only for military use," according to the Pentagon.

"We have called on China to remove the military systems immediately and to reverse course on the militarization of disputed South China Sea features," the Pentagon states. "We believe these recent deployments and the continued militarization of these features is a violation of the promise that President Xi made to the United States and the world not to militarize the Spratly Islands."