U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter boarded a U.S.
aircraft carrier in the South China Sea as tensions
rise over territorial disputes
Secretary Ash Carter sent a blunt message to China on Thursday by joining the American aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on patrol in the sensitive South China Sea: that the U.S. won’t accept Chinese domination of the contested region.
Mr. Carter appeared on the Theodore Roosevelt as it navigated some 200 miles from the southern tip of the disputed Spratly Islands. He sought to balance the American desire to maintain an open dialogue with the Chinese with the projection of American power in the region.
The American approach to the security structure for Asia is an inclusive one, we’re not trying to make divisions,” Mr. Carter said, standing beside an F-18 fighter jet in the hangar of the carrier. “We want China to be part of the security system of Asia and not to stand apart from it.”
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The carrier patrol caps a critical phase in South China Sea relations, security analysts believe, during which the dispute has evolved into a direct contest between China and the U.S., relegating the Southeast Asian countries that ring the waters to the status of nervous bystanders.
“Great powers’ actions can only be restrained by the balancing efforts of other great powers,” said Zhang Baohui, a political scientist at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, arguing that China’s growing naval assertiveness has now drawn the inevitable U.S. military response.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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