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U.S.-China Prepare for ‘Awkward’ Military Exercise

The Washington Post reports that “the U.S. Navy has dispatched numerous ships to Hawaii as it prepares for Rim of the Pacific 2014, the world’s largest international maritime exercise. It will involve 49 surface ships and six submarines from 23 countries this year, but the inclusion of one — China — will get an inordinate amount of attention.”  

“The People’s Liberation Army of China will participate in the exercise for the first time, sending ships that include the missile destroyer Haikou, the missile frigate Yueyang, the oiler Qiandaohu and the hospital ship Peace Ark. The Chinese were invited to join two years ago by Adm. Samuel Locklear, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, and will do so now as Chinese President Xi Jinping pushes an overhaul and expansion of the Chinese military.”  

“But the engagement, which starts June 26, comes at an awkward time following a series of controversial moves by China within the last year. That could complicate an already highly unusual level of engagement between China, the United States and U.S. allies at RIMPAC, even if senior military officials in China and the United States have had discussions for years.”