The People’s Liberation Army Navy of China has reportedly agreed to participate in the international maritime exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), which will be spearheaded by the US Navy.
The participation comes in the wake of increasing tensions between the US and China over the disputed Chinese military presence in the South China Sea.
The exercise, to be held in Hawaii and hosted by the US Pacific fleet, aims to strengthen international maritime partnerships, interoperability and the readiness of participating forces for a wide range of potential operations.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian was quoted by navaltoday as saying: "We are ready to work with the US side to strengthen strategic communication, improve mutual trust, and properly deal with differences, so as to push forward the healthy and stable development of the new type of China-US mil-to-mil relationship.
"China attaches importance to the exercise and will send naval ships to take part in the exercise. Since last year, the Chinese side has sent teams to take part in two planning conferences for the joint exercise, and held consultations with the US side on relevant issues of the Chinese side’s participation."
The RIMPAC exercise is held every two years in Hawaii, in June and July.
Navies from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Norway took part in the RIMPAC exercise 2014, which involved amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air-defence exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance manoeuvres, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage missions.
The Chinese Navy reportedly sent warships to the US Navy as a sign of their commitment to the maritime exercise.
Meanwhile, US Senators John McCain and Jack Reed have urged US Defence secretary Ash Carter to bar China from participating in the exercise to show disapproval of its actions.
Image: Navy fleet in action during RIMPAC 2014. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian Glunt.