Tensions may still continue in the South China Sea, especially when ruling from the arbitration court of The Hague nears its release. Yet China believes that participating in a military exercise with the U.S. will help create a “mutual understanding.”
Ahead of the ruling between the case set forth by the Philippines against China at the Hague due to territorial dispute, China had recently announced it will be holding a number of exercises in the disputed waters.
As previously reported by Morning News USA, China’s Maritime Safety Administration announced that it will hold drills until July 11. The Hague is expected to release its decision on July 12.
Meanwhile, as exercises take place in the South China Sea, several vessels from China’s People Liberation Army Navy have also made their way to Hawaii to participate in this year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. In fact, on its way there, the ships linked up with two ships from the Stennis Carrier Strike Group near Guam before sailing to Hawaii. They executed a joint formation maneuver exercise along the way.
China has been an active participant of RIMPAC since 2014. Wu Xi, the deputy chief of mission of the Chinese embassy in Washington, said that Chinese participation in RIMPAC will “help to improve mutual understanding.”
Wu Xi added,”They are beneficial to the bilateral country-to-country and military-to-military relationship.”
Meanwhile, Zhiqun Zhu, an associate professor of political science and international relations at Bucknell University, also said that the U.S. holding military exercises with China is “further evidence that both sides are interested in keeping the communication channels open.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has been long been vocal against China’s aggressive action in the South China Sea. He said that if their actions continue, they can end up erecting “a Great Wall of self-isolation.”
In response, China Ministry of Defense spokesman Wu Qian said, ” If someone wants to smear China by accusing China of ‘self-isolation,’ they are doomed to fail.”