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

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

update Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs