China to send five ships to US-hosted RIMPAC 2016

An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter operates near the USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and the People's Republic of China medical ship Peace Ark (T-AH 866) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014.  Photo: US Navy
An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter operates near the USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and the People’s Republic of China medical ship Peace Ark (T-AH 866) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Photo: US Navy

The Chinese Navy will take part in the U.S.-hosted multinational maritime exercise RIMPAC 2016, despite mounting tensions between the two countries amid the South China Sea dispute.

One missile destroyer, a missile frigate, a supply ship, a hospital ship and a submarine rescue vessel augmented by two helicopters will take part in exercises which will include damage control and submarine rescue, Xinhua news agency reported the Chinese Navy spokesperson Liang Yang saying.

According to the news site, People’s Liberation Army (Navy) ships will meet a U.S. warship in the West Pacific before they sail to Pearl Harbor.

RIMPAC 2014, the previous iteration of the exercise, was the first time Chinese warships took part in the exercise which will be attended by a record number of countries.

As the exercise was joined by newcomers Brazil, Denmark, Germany, and Italy, the number of participants rose to 27.

China’s participation in the exercise was brought into question after media reported U.S. officials calling on Barrack Obama to ban China from participating in international military drills to express discontent with Chinese actions in the South China Sea.

 

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