REPORT: Pentagon disinvites China from major naval exercise

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The Pentagon disinvited China from participating in a major naval exercise on Wednesday, signaling mounting U.S. anger over Beijing’s expanded military footprint in disputed areas of the South China Sea.

A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, said the Defense Department reversed an earlier invitation to the Chinese navy to participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) drills, biennial naval exercises that involve more than two dozen nations, over Beijing’s decision to place anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers on the contested Spratly Islands. China has also landed bomber aircraft at Woody Island, farther to the north in the disputed Paracel Islands, the Pentagon said.

“While China has maintained that the construction of 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,” Logan said in a statement.

The article goes on to state the following:

Chinese officials were notified about China’s exclusion from the RIMPAC exercises, which last about a month, on Wednesday morning, a Pentagon official said. Beijing began participating in the exercise in 2014. There was no immediate public response from the Chinese government.

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