July 14 (UPI) — The U.S. Navy is watching a Chinese spy ship in international waters where 25 nations are participating in RIMPAC, a major international naval warfare exercise.
Navy officials said they are keeping an eye on the Chinese ship, which arrived in the waters off Hawaii Wednesday.
A U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet spokesperson said the officials “expect this ship will remain outside of U.S. territorial seas and not operate in a manner that disrupts the ongoing Rim of the Pacific maritime exercises.”
More than 45 ships and submarines, 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 27 to Aug. 2 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and in Southern California.
China was disinvited from participating in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise in May because of U.S. opposition to Beijing’s continued militarization of islands in the South China Sea.
Chilean Commodore Pablo Nieman, the exercise’s combined forces maritime component commander, was critical of the Chinese ship’s presence.
“It is very disappointing that the presence of a non-participating ship could disrupt the exercise,” Nieman said. “I hope and expect all seafarers to act professionally so we may continue to focus on the work at hand and building on the spirit of cooperation that gives purpose to this exercise.”