China Looks to Join Big US-led Pacific Naval Drills

Posted by Eric Haun
Thursday, June 26, 2014

A giant U.S.-led naval exercise began off Hawaii on Thursday with China joining its Asia-Pacific rivals for the first time, but analysts doubted the drills will ease tensions over Chinese maritime claims and some said Beijing could use them to strengthen its navy.

Washington and its allies hope China's participation in the five-week Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises, involving 55 vessels, more than 200 aircraft and some 25,000 personnel from 22 countries, will build trust and help avert misunderstandings on the high seas that could escalate into crisis.

But analysts say the maneuvers may only help Beijing strengthen its growing naval capability by observing the forces of the United States and its allies.

Twenty-three nations had been expected to participate in RIMPAC this year. But Thailand will not take part, the Pentagon said on Thursday. Thailand is a long-time U.S. treaty ally, but Washington has suspended some cooperation projects with the country since its May 22 military coup.

China has sent four ships for its debut at RIMPAC, which runs until Aug. 1.

The Chinese ships are the missile destroyer Haikou, the missile frigate Yueyang, the supply ship Qiandaohu and the hospital ship Peace Ark. Chinese forces include two helicopters, a commando unit and a diving unit, a total 1,100 personnel.

The Haikou has a sophisticated battle-management system similar to the Aegis system used on many U.S. warships, which uses integrated radar and computer systems to track and destroy targets.

The Chinese ships rendezvoused off the U.S. Pacific island of Guam with warships from the United States, Singapore and Brunei before sailing to Hawaii. Nine ships from the four countries conducted drills involving maneuvering, communications and live weapons fire while en route to Pearl Harbor, where they arrived on Tuesday.

U.S. Navy chief Admiral Jonathan Greenert said last year RIMPAC allowed participating forces to practice high-end ballistic missile defense, surface and anti-submarine warfare in simulations and live-fire missile and torpedo exercises.

This year's exercises will include "cross-decking," where liaison officers from one country will be aboard the ship of another during the maneuvers, a U.S. defense official said.

"It benefits both countries and helps communications. It's a win-win situation," the official said.

U.S. officials say exercises like RIMPAC help navies involved learn how to work together in a wide range of operations, including disaster relief and countering pirates.

China Gains Most
They say deeper U.S.-China military ties help encourage transparency and clear lines of communication. But critics question whether including China in events like RIMPAC benefit China far more than they do the United States and its allies.

The exercises come at a time when tensions are high between Beijing and U.S. allies such as Japan and the Philippines over China's pressing of territorial claims in the South and East China Seas and Vietnamese vessels have clashed with China over waters claimed by both nations.

Austin Strange, a researcher at the U.S. Naval war College's China Maritime Studies Institute, said participation in the exercises was an opportunity for China's navy to demonstrate its increased capabilities and to get a closer look at other navies.

"RIMPAC and China's participation ... is unlikely to directly impact peace in the Asia-Pacific region," he said. Asia-Pacific stability rests more on the ways in which states communicate and pursue their national interests vis-à-vis other states in the region."

The Pentagon's emphasis on trust building and trying to promote common views on regional security were "misplaced," said Oriana Mastro, an assistant professor of security studies at Washington's Georgetown University.

"We are not forging personal relationships of the duration and degree necessary to keep two countries from going to war," she said. "And in my opinion, dialogue will not successfully convince the Chinese to rethink what they consider to be national interests."

However she said inviting China did help to counter Beijing's line that the United States is trying to "contain" China and fitted with Washington's assertion that it welcomes a greater Chinese global role, as long as it is constructive.

Roger Cliff, an analyst at Washington's Atlantic Council think tank, said Washington may also hope China will reciprocate by inviting the U.S. Navy to participate in a PLA Navy exercise.

But he said China was likely to gain more from RIMPAC than it gave away.

"They will ... learn from observing us and the other participants, and they will not only learn about our capabilities, they will also learn how to perform things more efficiently or effectively, whereas they probably don't have much to teach us in that regard," he said.

"So they probably will learn more than we do."

(By David Brunnstrom and David Alexander; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Maritime Reporter September 2013 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Navy

RIMPAC Exercise Puts LCS Through Paces

It was the middle of May, and the littoral combat ship Independence was operating out of San Diego, testing components of the mine warfare mission package. The mission is one that,

DoD Award Dredging, Ship Maintenance, Charter Contracts

US Department of Defense informs of placement of contracts for Chesapeake Bay dredging, dry-docking of USS Pearl Harbor, and charter of surface escort vessels. Details as follows: 1.

General Dynamics Delivers North Dakota (SSN-784) to U.S. Navy

General Dynamics Electric Boat yestereday delivered the nuclear-powered attack submarine North Dakota (SSN-784) on time and more than $30 million below target cost.

Education/Training

TNO Receives 'International Media Award for Prevention'

The Engagementgame developed by TNO in collaboration with partners is the winner of the 'International Media Award for Prevention' in the category Multi Media.

VIKING Saatsea Puts Crew Training in its Place

VIKING Saatsea will be at SMM 2014 to showcase the revolution it has brought about in crew training – moving everything on board to cut costs, speed up certification,

Drydocks World to Participate in SMM 2014

Drydocks World, the leading provider of maritime and offshore services to the shipping, oil, gas, and energy sectors, will participate in the prestigious 26th edition of Shipbuilding,

News

Fortum Buys Stake in Wave Power Startup

Finland's top utility, state-controlled Fortum, on Monday said it has acquired a 14 percent stake in Finnish wave energy developer Wello. Wello has developed

Gazprom Neft Starts Oil Production, Shipments from Iraqi Badra Field

Russia's Gazprom Neft said on Monday it started commercial production and shipments of oil produced at its Iraqi Badra oil field. Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of state gas company Gazprom ,

Statoil Says Normal Operations at In Amenas Gas Plant Resuming

Normal operations are resuming at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria 18 months after a raid by Islamist militants killed forty employees, one of the plant's operators, Statoil, said on Monday.

Eye on the Navy

RIMPAC Exercise Puts LCS Through Paces

It was the middle of May, and the littoral combat ship Independence was operating out of San Diego, testing components of the mine warfare mission package. The mission is one that,

East and South China Sea Disputes Need Creative Diplomacy

China and the United States appear headed for a damaging confrontation over the extent of China's territorial claims in the South and East China Seas. Now that

HMS Illustrious Decommissioned

HMS Illustrious – the last of the Royal Navy’s Invincible-class aircraft carriers – was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Base today, marking the end of her 32-year career.

Government Update

FTA Approves WSF Ferry Terminal Plans

In the latest Washington State Ferries Weekly Update, Capt. George A. Capacci, Interim Assistant Secretary WSDOT/Ferries Division briefs as follows: "FTA approves

DoD Award Dredging, Ship Maintenance, Charter Contracts

US Department of Defense informs of placement of contracts for Chesapeake Bay dredging, dry-docking of USS Pearl Harbor, and charter of surface escort vessels. Details as follows: 1.

Indian Investigators Drop Case Against Billionaire Birla

India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has closed a coal scam case against billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla and a former top bureaucrat that emerged in

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1509 sec (7 req/sec)