The US-led Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime military exercise begins today.
The 28th biennial exercise aims to promote an open and free Indo-Pacific region as maritime tensions escalate with China. Twenty-six nations are expected to participate in the operations, which will likely feature the latest US weapons systems, including unmanned surface vessels. Participants will perform several drills, such as anti-submarine and air defense exercises and counter-piracy operations.
The US chose not to include Taiwan in the upcoming exercise in order to avoid confrontation with Beijing, though this will likely not be enough to quell tensions. China was recently angered when the US conducted a Taiwan Strait flyover, a move that the US indicated it would repeat to demonstrate its commitment to Taiwan. The US is also currently considering a plan to lay mines in the Yellow Sea and Pearl River Delta which could bring Beijing to the negotiating table, though defense analysts fear the strategy risks escalating tensions and could potentially breach international law.
The upcoming exercise, which is widely viewed as a defense against Chinese expansion, may compel China to accelerate its campaign to take control of Taiwan.
Madeline McQuillan is an Analyst for Foreign Brief and a contributor to the Daily Brief. Her expertise is in European politics and transatlantic relations. She holds a Master of Science in European and International Public Policy from the London School of Economics.