The exercises also know as Rim of the Pacific or RIMPAC, brings together 46 ships and submarines, 200 aircraft and 25.000 troops from 25 nations.
China was disinvited from the games over its alleged militarization of islands in the South China Sea. The exercise comes after the end of Chinas own exercises with live-fire off Taiwan that began on June 17.
The US military leaders said in a press conference that the exercises are about “building relationships” with the participating nations such as Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. They also downplayed the role of China as a naval power saying that China does not host any naval exercises with the same scope.
Also its absence will prevent China from building any personal relationship with other naval counterparts global or local. Thus leaving the US as the only player.
The exercises give the ASEAN nations which include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand to show “passive support” towards the US position. Only Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar will are not part of RIMPAC.
Outside of these nations Canadian and Japanese admirals will be in the numbers 2 and 3 overall command positions and Chilean and Australian will have the respective roles maritime and air elements of the drills.
In response to the drills Beijing announced that it would hold respective exercises with all the ASEAN nations later this year.