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Chinese military invited to RIMPAC 2014 exercises in Hawaii

By William Cole

LAST UPDATED: 7:03 p.m. HST, Sep 18, 2012

The U.S. military has invited China to participate in the next Rim of the Pacific naval exercise off Hawaii in two years after equivocating on the issue during the most recent version of the big biennial exercise this summer.

During a news conference in Beijing today, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told his Chinese counterpart, Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie, that “the United States Navy will invite China to send a ship to participate in the RIMPAC 2014 exercise,” the Pentagon said.

Panetta and Liang said they see progress and room for growth in the two nations’ military relationship, according to the Pentagon.

A total of 22 nations, 25,000 personnel, 40 ships, six submarines and more than 200 aircraft participated in RIMPAC June 29 through Aug. 3 in and around Hawaii.

So many nations were involved in this year’s RIMPAC war games that China complained it was feeling left out.

“Watching from afar, China is feeling uncomfortable,” the Global Times, published under the auspices of the Communist Party of China, wrote at the time. “But it should be forgotten soon. The exercise is nothing but a big party held by the U.S. which is in a melancholy state of mind due to difficult realities.”

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