The escalating tensions in South China Sea in the recent past has kept the US and China on the edge of a confrontation. In a clear assertion the US has said that it was not trying to create divisions in Asia. “America wants China to be part of the Asian security system and not stand apart from it,” Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said.
In his address to reporters aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt in South China Sea, Mr Carter refuted reports that the US is trying to create divisions in Asia. “We’re not trying to make divisions. We want China to be part of the security system of Asia and not to stand apart from it. That’s why I accepted the invitation of President Xi extended to me to visit China,” Mr Carter said. “I told the Chinese defence minister yesterday that I accepted that. I look forward to coming there. I believe that discussions with China, military to military contact with China, making sure that nobody does anything or has any misunderstandings out here. All that’s a critical part of the job of keeping peace and stability out here and this here reflects that,” Mr Carter added.
Alluding to his meetings with the defence ministers of the region at the ASEAN ministers meet, including with India, Mr Carter stressed on the fact that the US approach to a security structure for Asia is an inclusive one. An American ship in South China sea is not unusual at all, he said.
Downplaying the US presence in South China Sea, Mr Carter said: “An American warship in the South China Sea, that’s been going on for decades. And so, my visiting with defence ministers of other countries in this region is not a new thing.” “The United States has long had a lot of key alliances and partnerships out here. If it’s being noted today in a special way, it’s because of the tension in this part of the world, mostly arising from disputes over land features in the South China Sea.”
Blaming China’s aggressive posturing in the disputed sea, the US alleged that most of the activity over the last year was being perpetrated by Beijing. “So there is a lot of concern about Chinese behaviour out here and that was signified in a meeting I was just present at,” Mr Carter said.
Speaking about the significance of the US military power its critical role, Mr Carter insisted that many countries in the region are coming to the United States and asking the US to do more with them so that peace can be maintained in the region. “This is a symbol and a sign of the critical role the United States’ military power play what is a very consequential region for the American future,” Mr Carter said.
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