Sens. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Sen. Jack Reed (D., R.I.) want Beijing disinvited from a big naval exercise next year as a penalty for building artificial islands in the South China Sea and for “provocative actions” elsewhere.
Messrs. McCain and Reed, respectively the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the panel’s top Democrat, wrote Defense Secretary Ash Carter late Thursday, asking the Pentagon chief to reconsider inviting China to the 2016 “Rim of the Pacific” — or RIMPAC — naval exercises in Hawaii.
“We think this decision is misguided,” the two wrote in a letter, a copy of which was provided to The Wall Street Journal. “Given the [People’s Republic of China’s provocative actions in the East and South China Seas, our government should be considering policy options that impose costs on China’s disruptive behavior, not reward it.”
China’s muscle-flexing in the region has raised tensions between Washington and Beijing and among allies in the Asia Pacific, and come days after Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Beijing.