"I don’t believe China’s behavior warrants joint exercises with the United States, because they are acting in a way that, in my view, is in violation of international law," McCain said at a Brookings Institution discussion on Thursday.
McCain cited the recent Chinese intercept of a US aircraft that was reportedly flying in international airspace, as well as island reclamation in the South China Sea, as reasons China should be excluded from RIMPAC.
Earlier on Thursday, US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work stated that there is still an open invitation for China to participate in the multinational maritime drills.
The details of RIMPAC 2016 have not yet been released, but the exercises are expected to take place in June and July. Nearly two dozen countries and 25,000 sailors participated in RIMPAC 2014, including China.