The US Marine Corps is bringing together foreign commanders from amphibious forces deployed mostly in the Asia-Pacific for a conference aimed at taking initial steps to integrate their operations, with China excluded from the event, according to officials and planning documents.
The effort centres on a first-of-its-kind conference between the Marine Corps and military officials from 23 countries that opens in Hawaii on Monday. More than half the nations attending are from Asia, including some embroiled in territorial disputes with China such as Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam.
On the agenda will be amphibious assault tactics, including ship-to-shore assaults, and a demonstration of shore landing tactics, said a USMC spokesman in Hawaii.
A planning document prepared by a consultant to the US military and reviewed by Reuters notes that China should "not be invited" because it's a "competitor" to the United States and some of the countries attending.Washington has grown increasingly critical of China's assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea, especially its land reclamation around seven reefs in the Spratly chain. Satellite images show at least one airstrip under construction