Despite setback, China encourages contacts with US military - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Despite setback, China encourages contacts with US military

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BEIJING (AP) -- China says it hopes for continued exchanges with the U.S. military despite being disinvited from a major U.S.-sponsored naval exercise this summer.

Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang also said Thursday the sides remain in contact over a possible visit to China by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at a date yet to be announced.

The Pentagon last week withdrew its invitation for China to participate in the multinational naval exercise in what it called "an initial response" to China's militarization of the South China Sea.

The Pentagon cited strong evidence that China has deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missile systems and electronic jammers to contested areas in the Spratly Islands. It called on China to remove these systems.

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