WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has disinvited China from a major U.S.-hosted naval drill this year as an “initial” response to what it sees as Beijing’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
“As an initial response to China’s continued militarization of the South China Sea we have disinvited the PLA Navy from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
“We have strong evidence that China has deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, and electronic jammers to contested features in the Spratly Islands region of the South China Sea. China’s landing of bomber aircraft at Woody Island has also raised tensions.”
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by James Dalgleish)