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As Frictions Rise, China and U.S. Cultivate Deeper Naval Ties

MIN READJul 8, 2016 | 09:16 GMT

The USS Ronald Reagan transits the Pacific Ocean with ships assigned to a RIMPAC 2010 combined task force. This year's RIMPAC exercise is particularly notable for China's participation, which came as a surprise to many.

(DYLAN MCCORD/U.S. Navy)

The Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) biennial naval exercise is in full swing, and this year's has already proved to be an occasion of many firsts. Not only is RIMPAC 2016 the largest of its kind to date, but the navies of Denmark, Italy and Germany -- none traditionally considered a Pacific power -- are also making initial appearances in the exercise. Moreover, for the first time in RIMPAC's history, a non-American ship (in this case, a Singaporean frigate) led a multinational group comprising vessels from the United States, Japan, Indonesia and India from the Western Pacific to Hawaii. The move was a subtle message from Washington that it wants its Asian partners to take the lead in securing the region. Yet despite these notable firsts, it is China's second showing at the exercise that is attracting the most attention. The relationship between Beijing and Washington has come under increasing strain...

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