Carter Presses China on South China Sea

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, during a visit through southeast Asia, voiced concerns about cyber threats from China and called on that country to halt all reclamation and militarization of the South China Sea. Carter on Nov. 3 met with Gen. Chang Wanquan, minister of national defense of the People’s Republic of China, on the sidelines of the Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he said the US takes no position on maritime disputes in the South China Sea, though he noted the US will defend the principle of freedom of navigation, according to a Defense Departm?ent readout of the meeting. Carter, during a Nov. 4 speech at the conference, said he will visit the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Nov. 5, which is transiting through the South China Sea. “Freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce are not new concepts,” Carter said. “They’re not theoretical or aspirational goals. In this part of the world, these were rules worked for decades to promote peace and prosperity.” Carter also promoted “appropriate norms of state behavior in cyberspace.” Carter also met with ministers of defense from Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Singapore, the Philippines, and Japan during the meeting.