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International relations

Pacific snub signals US break from China engagement policy

Beijing feared to further ease economic pressure on North Korea

Chinese and U.S. flags fly aboard a Chinese naval vessel that participated in the Rimpac military exercises in Honolulu in 2016.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON/BEIJING -- The U.S. decision to disinvite China from multilateral naval exercises this summer underscores President Donald Trump's departure from the more conciliatory policy of his predecessor. Along with Trump's decision on Thursday to cancel his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which Trump had said Chinese President Xi Jinping may have tried to influence, the chain of events could mean a hardening of Washington's stance on Beijing.

"China's continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea" only serves to "raise tensions and destabilize the region," said Lt. Col. Chris Logan, a U.S. Department of Defense spokesman, in a Wednesday statement explaining Beijing's exclusion from the American-hosted Rim of the Pacific exercises, or Rimpac.

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