02:41 GMT04 June 2020
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    Washington has disinvited Beijing from participating in maritime drills in the Pacific citing China's "continued militarization" of the South China Sea.

    "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," Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Chris Logan said.

    According to the Pentagon, China's "continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serve to raise tensions and destabilize the region."

    READ MORE: Beijing Claims Control Over All Oil, Gas Activity in South China Sea

    Washington's move comes after Chinese Foreign Ministry stated that the landing of the Chinese Air Force’s strategic bombers in a few reefs and islands in the South China Sea is a part of usual air exercises.

    Earlier in May, the CNBC reported, citing sources in US intelligence, that China had installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its military posts on the South China Sea's Spratly Islands — the Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef. The deployment, if confirmed, could mark the first installation of Chinese missiles in the South China Sea. However, China has not commented on these claims. 

    China has been lodging territorial claims in the South China Sea, a strategic maritime route that for a long time has been an apple of discord between Beijing and Southeast Asian countries. China has been building numerous civilian and military facilities in the sea, which is rich in oil and gas reserves, whereas the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, have rival claims to this territory.


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