02:34 GMT +327 February 2017
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    Two warships of the South China Sea Fleet of the Chinese Navy fire missiles during a competitive training.

    Frenemy? China to Participate in US-Hosted Military Exercises

    © AP Photo/ Zha Chunming
    Asia & Pacific
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    Despite tensions between Washington and Beijing over the South China Sea, China has announced that it will take part in the international maritime exercise RIMPAC. Some US politicians, however, are attempting to ban Beijing’s participation.

    The Rim of the Pacific exercise, known as RIMPAC, is one of the world’s largest military drills. Hosted by the United States, it occurs every two years off the coast of Hawaii.

    In the midst of heated tensions between the US and China, it was unclear if Beijing would take part in the upcoming exercises. But on Thursday, the Chinese government indicated that it would lay those differences aside, for the time being.

    "Joining these military exercises will be beneficial to improving the Chinese navy’s ability to contend with non-traditional security threats," said Wu Qian, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Defense.

    "At the same time, it will also be beneficial to defending China and professional exchanges and pragmatic cooperations with the relevant countries’ navies."

    Beijing will send an undetermined number of warships to take part in the drills.

    Wu also took the opportunity to address the South China Sea tensions.

    "Needless to say, military relations between China and the US have some difficulties and obstacles."

    Washington has criticized Beijing over its development of artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago, accusing China of trying to establish an air defense zone. Beijing maintains that it has every right to build within what it considers to be its own territory, and that the islands will be used primarily for humanitarian purposes.

    The US Navy has conducted a number of aggressive patrols within the 12-mile territorial limit of China’s land reclamation projects and flown surveillance flights over the islands.

    A number of US lawmakers have criticized the Obama administration for allowing China to participate in the games, arguing that Beijing should be barred over its South China Sea actions.

    "I would not have invited them this time because of their behavior," Arizona Senator John McCain said last summer.

    "In the last number of years they had filled in 60 acres of land around these [disputed] islands; in the last year they filled in 6000 acres and they are putting in a runway. I don’t think there is any doubt about their territorial ambitions."

    Others argued that China should be allowed to take part so that Beijing can witness US capabilities first-hand.

    "Direct exposure to US equipment, personnel, and capabilities should give the Chinese a more realistic assessment of what the US and its allies are capable of doing," said Nicole Forrester, formerly with the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies, according to Military.com.

    "Mistaken notions of US decline are likely to be corrected in the process."

    Related:

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    China Deploys Fighter Jets to Contested South China Sea Island - Reports
    US, China Call for United Response to North Korea’s ‘Provocations’
    Tags:
    military drills, RIMPAC, Nicole Forrester, John McCain, Wu Qian, South China Sea, Hawaii, China, United States
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    • avatar
      michael
      reasonable action on the part of the chinese...how else can you see your 'enemy's' manoeuvres?
    • avatar
      hopscotch64
      It is very hard to tell what the Chinese have in mind at any time. The United States is ahead of the Chinese military by 10 years or that is what the experts say. China by itself cannot win a war with the US unless it is a ground war and that would be a toss up. As far as collecting intelligence during the military exercises the US is in a better position to collect data than China. China is an enigma running hot and cold depending on the day it is. Maybe there is some grand strategy, but it eludes me as to what it is.
    • The SPutin Image
      Decline isn't only about what military hardware can be brought to the games. It's also about national monetary, moral, and political deficit -all of which are rather impressive here in USA.
    • avatar
      armor
      If I were China, I would decline participation. What can they really learn there? They are , ironically, giving credence, authority, to a system which has no future. The Us of NA needs to stop war-mongering, be humble like the ...Chinese are most of the time.
    • avatar
      seanrkearney
      Give the Chinese a chance to see how little they are up against....
    • avatar
      seanrkearneyin reply tohopscotch64(Show commentHide comment)
      hopscotch64, Its that kind of attitude that has gotten the US into trouble so many times in the past and present......
    • avatar
      rasojin reply tohopscotch64(Show commentHide comment)
      hopscotch64, I agree with you. It seems like China wants to cozy up to everyone and hedge its bets. The Chinese government will support Russia if it sees benefit in it but can it be counted on as a reliable partner against the aggression of the US/Western empire?
    • avatar
      hopscotch64
      ivanwa88, It is more likely rather than not an aggressor, China is devoid of any coherent strategy or principles.
    • avatar
      hopscotch64in reply torasoj(Show commentHide comment)
      rasoj, It would seem that way.
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