Pentagon: China's actions in South China Sea will have consequences
Earnest March 4, 2016
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has stressed that China
should not pursue militarization in the disputed South China Sea as it
would result in conflict among claimant states, in a speech before
the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California.
Carter recalled that Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier said
that his country will not militarize the disputed sea despite its
reclamation activities in the area.
The US Defense Secretary noted that almost 30 percent of the world's maritime trade passes by the South China Sea annually.
"That's why the United States joins virtually every nation in
the region in being deeply concerned about the artificial island
construction and militarization in the South China Sea, including steps,
especially by China, as it has taken most recently, by placing
anti-access systems and military aircraft on a disputed island," Carter
Carter, however, clarified that the US is not holding back or
pushing any country down in its freedom of navigation activities in the
"The United States wants every nation to have the opportunity
to rise and that includes China. We welcome its rise and its inclusion
in this architecture. But we don’t welcome aggressive behavior," the US
Defense chief said.
Carter said that the US will continue to provide defense
systems to their allies and assist them in advancing maritime security,
particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
Foreign ministers of Southeast Asian countries have recently
voiced out their concern over the recent developments in the South China
This follows reports that Beijing has deployed surface-to-air
missiles at Woody Island in the Paracel chain. It has also been reported
that China has been building radar systems in some of the reefs in the
Spratly Group of Islands.
The Chinese have also reportedly taken over Quirino atoll, a
traditional Filipino fishing ground near Palawan, and have been keeping
local fishermen at bay.