Washington (CNN)A Chinese spy ship is currently spying on a major US-led military exercise off the coast of Hawaii, the same exercise it was disinvited from due to US opposition to Beijing’s militarization of features in the South China Sea.
China was disinvited from the exercise, known as RIMPAC, in May over what the Pentagon called China’s “continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea,” including the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missile systems and electronic jammers.
The Chinese ship’s presence was also criticized by the exercise’s combined forces maritime component commander, Chilean Commodore Pablo Nieman.
“It is very disappointing that the presence of a non-participating ship could disrupt the exercise,” Nieman said in a statement. “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.”
A military official told CNN that a similar Russian spy ship was in the same area the last time RIMPAC took place in 2016. China participated in the exercise that year.