China has accused the US of creating a negative atmosphere in intergovernmental relations. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Washington’s cancelling of China’s invitation to participate in US-led international RIMPAC maritime maneuvers an “extremely deconstructive step” .
His statement was given on May 23 in Washington to journalists and alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The Chinese minister believes that the decision was “unthinkable” and that it undermines the strengthening of relations between China and the United States. For him, military exchanges could reinforce mutual trust.
Even before the start of negotiations, the cancellation of the invitation was already revealed. According to Western media, US Defense Department spokesman Christopher Logan called the cancellation of the invitation as an “initial response” to “China’s continued militarization of the South China Sea.” This concern was also voiced by Mike Pompeo during a meeting with Wang Yi.
The Chinese foreign minister said that China has positioned defense facilities on its islands by exercising its right to self-defense. Moreover, he stressed that Chinese positioning is carried out on a “much smaller” scale than the US in Hawaii or Guam.
According to expert Aleksandr Lomanov, it is unlikely that the cancellation of the joint exercises will lead China to give in to US military or political demands. Lomanov stressed that “China’s real policies demonstrate that it is not willing to give up its fundamental interests under any pressure.”
Chinese analyst Shen Shishun says the US is using RIMPAC maneuvers to pressure China:
“In the South China Sea, China is acting exclusively within its sovereignty… The cancellation of the US invitation to China to participate in the multilateral military maneuvers in the Pacific Ocean in 2018 through the excuse that [China] would be building [military installations] on the South China Sea islands obviously demonstrates the impurity of American objectives …. The Americans aim to show the world that only their actions bring justice to the region, that they are noble and honest,” Shen Shishun said in a statement.
The Chinese analyst concluded by saying that China’s policy nowadays is very secure, and its actions are consistent and firm.