News / Asia

Chinese Ships Head to US-led Pacific Rim Exercises

FILE - The USS Chung-Hoon guided-missile destroyer, front, and the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier are underway during the Great Green Fleet demonstration portion of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise, July 18, 2012.
FILE - The USS Chung-Hoon guided-missile destroyer, front, and the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier are underway during the Great Green Fleet demonstration portion of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise, July 18, 2012.
Natalie Liu
China for the first time is sending multiple ships to a U.S.-led international maritime drill known as RIMPAC, or Rim of Pacific exercise . China’s official media describes the trip as a venture “deep into the tiger’s den.”  Absent from this year’s participant list is Russia.

Forty-seven ships, along with six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel, will participate in this year’s RIMPAC exercise.

According to Chinese media, four ships from People's Liberation Army Navy - including a guided missile destroyer, a guided missile escort ship, a multi-purpose supply ship and a medical ship known as the Peace Arc - left Chinese ports Monday. China is also sending two helicopters, a team of divers and a special forces unit, for a total of 1,100 members of its military.

They are heading towards Guam where the ships will meet with those from the United States, Singapore, Brunei and head together to Hawaii, where the exercises will take place from June 26 to August 1. More than 20 nations are expected to participate.

RIMPAC, started in 1971 and held every two years under the banner of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, is billed as the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise.

The last such exercise saw Russia participate for the first time, sending three ships. But Moscow is absent this year.
 
VOA's Jim Stevenson talks with Natalie Liu about the Pacific Rim exercises
VOA's Jim Stevenson talks with Natalie Liu about the Pacific Rim exercisesi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

The U.S. describes RIMPAC as a “unique training opportunity” that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships “that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.”

China's official Xinhua news agency bills the participation as “an important military diplomacy mission” entrusted by the Central Military Commission and “an important step in putting into practice a new kind of Sino-U.S. and bilateral military-to-military relations.”  

Xinhua gave the story prominent placement on its website, with pictures of the ships highlighted and a written report calling the journey a venture “deep into the tiger’s den, putting our self-confidence on display."

Scott Harold, Associate Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation, says the headline reveals the underlying complexity in bilateral relations between the United States and China. He said the Xinhua headline is an indication of the “contentious nature of this engagement. What we’re seeing is probably a result of that strategic mistrust on the part of some in Beijing.”

Critics of the Obama administration’s “pro-dialogue” approach towards China and the Chinese military doubt China's participation in RIMPAC will lead to meaningful transparency or cooperation from Beijing.

Rick Fisher, a Senior Fellow with the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, worries that having the Chinese ships and personnel at the exercises offers Beijing “an intelligence bonanza, as it will be able to watch how the U.S. Navy interacts with its allies, which could be most useful in the event of actual military incidents or conflict.”

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs