HONOLULU (AP) - China plans to bring four ships to Hawaii this summer as its vessels participate in the world's largest naval exercises for the first time.
China is expected to bring the Peace Ark, a navy hospital ship, as well as an oiler, a frigate and a destroyer, said Lt. Lenaya Rotklein, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Third Fleet, which is organizing the Rim of the Pacific exercises.
The drills are scheduled to begin June 26 and last through Aug. 1.
The U.S. hosts the exercises, which are also known as RIMPAC, every other year. They began in 1971 and have since grown to become the world's largest maritime exercises.
Twenty-three countries are expected to participate this year, including Canada, India, Japan and South Korea.
The Peace Ark will participate in medical exchanges with other participants, Rotklein said. The oiler, the frigate and the destroyer are expected to join a maritime interdiction operations task force.
The scenario for the exercise involves four fictitious countries - one of which is an aggressor - in an island region, she said.