Carter stressed, as he has repeatedly, that the US military will ignore Beijing's contentious South China Sea claims, and keep operating in waters and airspace surrounding the islands."We hope that China chooses to join the rest of the region in strengthening and upholding the shared principles that have helped so many nations around the region, including China, to rise and prosper," he said.
An international court in July ruled against China's sweeping South China Sea claims, prompting a furious reaction from Beijing, which promptly vowed to ignore the decision.- Returning jihadists -Carter's trip to Hawaii comes with less than four months of the Obama administration remaining.
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Beijing has in recent years rapidly expanded its physical presence in the strategically vital waterway, turning small maritime features, islets and reefs into much larger islands capable of holding military facilities.
Despite Rodrigo Duterte's comments to end joint military exercises with America, the Philippine defence department spokesman Arsenio Andolong said, "The (US military) relationship has not changed as of today" (AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe)San Diego (AFP) - US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said America's alliance with the Philippines remains "ironclad" even though the Asian ally's leader has vowed to end joint military exercises.
The Pentagon chief's remarks came as he headed for a security summit in Hawaii, where concerns about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, China's continued military expansion in the South China Sea, and the return of Islamic State group jihadists to the region were high on the agenda."As it has been for decades, our alliance with the Philippines is ironclad," Carter said, addressing troops aboard the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, docked in San Diego.
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US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday said America’s alliance with the Philippines remains “ironclad” even though the Asian ally’s leader has vowed to end joint military exercises.