South China Sea Dispute: China, US Join Largest War Games In International Waters
Tensions may still be present along the waters of the South China Sea, but that doesn’t mean the U.S. and China cannot work together as they participate in one of the largest military exercises with several nations participating from all over the world.Advertisement
Ahead of the exercise, five ships from the People’s Liberation Army Navy were seen linking up with two ships from the Stennis Carrier Strike Group. They had reportedly met up near Guam before making their way together to Hawaii where Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 will be held beginning June 30.
RIMPAC is said to be the largest international maritime exercise. It is made up of 26 nations including forces from the United States, China, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Tonga and the United Kingdom. The goal is to “foster and sustain cooperative relationships” for the safety and security of sea lanes around the world.
As they make their way to RIMPAC, China Military Online reported that the U.S. and Chinese warships executed a joint formation maneuver exercise. According to a report from USNI News, the ships participating from China include the Type 054A guided missile frigate Hengshui (572), Type 052C guided missile destroyer Xi’an (153), submarine logistics vessel Changxingdao and the hospital ship Peace Ark. Meanwhile, joining are the SS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110) and USS Stockdale (DDG-106) from the Stennis strike group.
Hosted by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC will include the participation of as much as 45 ships along with five submarines, 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. This is the first time that RIMPAC will include a submarine rescue exercise in its events.
RIMPAC will take place from June 30 to August 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands as well as Southern California.