US 'disinvites' China from maritime exercise in the Pacific over South China Sea dispute

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, USA Published: May 23, 2018, 10:06 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Last week, China reportedly landed several aircrafts at an airfield in the South China Sea

The United States today "disinvited" China from participating in annual maritime exercises in the Pacific due to "continued militarization of the South China Sea," the Pentagon said.

The US has been couducting drills in the South China Sea even as China has been conducting military drills in the area and taking part in defence excercise in the Taiwan Straits. 

"China's continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serve to raise tensions and destabilize the region," Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Chris Logan said.

Last week, China reportedly landed several aircrafts at an airfield in the South China Sea area prompting the US to declare that China was engaging in "continued militarisation of disputed features in the South China Sea".

China denied the US claim of "militarising". The area around the South China Sea is rich in oil and natural gas with several islands being claimed by Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia even as China has upped the ante with military drills. 

"We have disinvited the PLA Navy from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise. China's behavior is inconsistent with the principles and purposes of the RIMPAC exercise."

China has built several artificial islands in the disputed area fueling further tensions between countries who have accused it of playing brinkmanship.

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