Pentagon kicks out China from major U.S. military exercise

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Logan said "strong evidence" has revealed China's deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and electronic jammers on disputed reefs and atoll in the South China Sea.

Logan described China's activities as a "violation of the promise that [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] made to the United States and the world".

The strategic South China Sea is rich in energy reserves, fishery resources and is a busy shipping route. "We're telling the Chinese that there will be diplomatic and potentially economic consequences for further aggression in the South China Sea", he said.

Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang reiterated Beijing's claims over the South China Sea islands, saying its construction and deployment of military facilities there was "legitimate" and "necessary", and had "absolutely nothing to do with militarisation".

China has brought additional equipment to the disputed islands and bomb-proofed airplane hangars it built there.

Last week, China for the first time released video of a nuclear-capable bomber landing on Woody Island in the disputed South China Sea.

Closing the door to communication at any time is not conducive towards promoting mutual trust and communication between the Chinese and US militaries.

"No matter if China is invited or disinvited, or whether there is this military drill or not, nothing will change China's resolve to play a positive role in upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea region or sway its firm determination to safeguard its security and sovereign rights and interests", he added.

Asserting that the United States is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific, the Pentagon said China's continued militarisation of disputed features in the South China Sea only serve to raise tensions and "destabilise" the region.

As an observer in 2012 and participant in 2014 China sent an intelligence-gathering ship "to vacuum-up signals intelligence on the U.S. Navy and our allies", Fanell said.

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Washington also is engaged in a sprawling trade dispute with China over USA complaints about market access and technology policy.

Satellite imagery of the Fiery Cross Reef located in the South China Sea.

Rimpac began in 1971 and was held annually until 1974, when it switched to every two years due to its large scale.

According to the Navy, this year's Rimpac was originally slated to include more than 1,000 personnel from 27 countries.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera has voiced deep concern about reports that Chinese bombers had landed for the first time at an airport on the East Sea.

Pentagon's decision was immediately hailed by many who have always been critical of China's inclusion in the RIMPAC.

The US withdrawal of an invitation to such a symbolic event comes at a hard time in relations between the two sides and is potentially just the first setback in military exchanges between them, said Zhang Yuquan, an worldwide relations specialist at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou.

"In wartime, China's military assets on these islands will increase the risk to the U.S. of intervening militarily".

For instance, we may see the United States not only increase its already considerable presence in the South China Sea, but engage in bilateral exercises with regional partners and allies more frequently.

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