A Chinese military spokesperson on Thursday criticized the United States for withdrawing the invitation to China to the Rim of the Pacific 2018 multinational naval exercise.
Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson of China's Ministry of National Defense, said the United States exaggerated so-called "militarization in the South China Sea" and used it as an excuse to disinvite China to the joint exercise.
"The U.S. decision is not constructive. Shutting out communication at any time does not help build trust or promote cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries," he said.
Ren said that China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters.
"It is a legitimate right for China as a sovereign state to carry out construction activities and deploy necessary defense facilities on its own territory. Such acts have nothing to do with so-called militarization, but are necessary measures to safeguard sovereignty and maintain regional peace and stability," Ren said. "The United States has no right to make such irresponsible remarks."
"Being invited or not, China will not change its determination to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, protect its sovereignty and security interests," Ren continued. "It is in the interests of both the United States and China to develop a healthy and stable relationship between the two armed forces. The relationship needs to be protected by both countries."
"The United States should look at the big picture, drop its zero-sum mentality and properly handle differences," Ren said. "Let's make the China-U.S. military relationship a stability factor for the overall bilateral ties."