China slams US for disinviting it from military drill

China slams US for disinviting it from military drill

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman describes US decision as ‘not constructive’

By Fuat Kabakci

BEIJING (AA) - China criticized the U.S. on Thursday after Pentagon announced it withdrew its invitiation to Beijing to participate in the upcoming Pacific military drill on the pretext of the country's continued militarization of the South China Sea.

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Ren Guogiang described the U.S. decision as “not constructive”.

“Closing the door of communication at any time will not help enhance mutual trust and cooperation between two militaries,” Ren said, according to a statement posted on the Ministry of National Defense’s website.

“The United States has hyped up the so-called ‘militarization’ of the South China Sea by ignoring the facts, and used it as an excuse to cancel the invitation for China to participate in the Rim of the Pacific [RIMPAC] - 2018 multinational naval exercise,” Guoqiang added.

On Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Lt Col. Christopher Logan said: “China's continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serve to raise tensions and destabilize the region."

Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a press meeting that China was exercising its sovereign rights in the South China Sea.

Artificial islands in the South China Sea and China's military operations in the region continue to cause tension between the U.S., China and regional countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

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