Date: July 1, 2018
By: Brad Lendon, CNN
Hong Kong (CNN)The Pentagon kicked off the world’s largest naval war games last week, the biennial, month-long Rim of the Pacific exercises, known as RIMPAC, bringing together 46 ships and submarines, 200 aircraft and 25,000 troops from 25 nations.
Missing from that contingent is China, which was disinvited from RIMPAC over its militarization of islands in the South China Sea.
But as ships were arriving in Hawaii for RIMPAC, China was completing naval exercises of its own, with a series of live-fire naval drills off Taiwan that began on June 17.
That the two sets of exercises overlap only serves to reinforce the differences between the two super powers, as both countries vie for military influence in the Pacific.
RIMPAC is about “building relationships,” US military leaders said at a press conference in Hawaii on Thursday, pointing out Indo-Pacific nations making first-time or upgraded contributions to the exercises, including Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, which all have claims in the South China Sea. [FULL STORY]