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Ash Carter Defends U.S. Spy Plane over South China Sea, China Calls It ’Bullying’ against China and India

May 28, 2015 (EIRNS)—U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, reflecting Obama administration’s confrontational policy in the distant South China Sea to provoke China, took the occasion of the Pearl Harbor ceremony where Adm. Sam Locklear turned over leadership of U.S. Pacific Command to Adm. Harry Harris yesterday, to defend the U.S. right to fly over artificial islands that Beijing is building in the South China Sea. Responding to China’s formal protest over the flight last week of a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft over Yongshu Reef, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, Secretary Carter said: "There should be no mistake, should be no mistake about this—the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we do all around the world.... With its actions in the South China Sea, China is out of step with both international norms that underscore the Asia-Pacific’s security architecture, and the regional consensus in favor of a non-coercive approach to this and other long-standing disputes," Carter said.

"China’s actions are bringing countries in the region together in new ways. And they’re increasing demand for American engagement in the Asia-Pacific, and we’re going to meet it. We will remain the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come."

In the state-run China Daily, Beijing rejected yielding to Washington’s "bullying tactics," and said that "while the international community is anxious to know China’s response to the apparent U.S. provocation, the fact is, Washington’s move has made Beijing’s case for reclamation and construction work in the South China Sea much stronger." It pointed out that the U.S. has been implementing its "pivot to Asia" strategy to enhance its waning influence in the region and counterbalance the rise of regional powers—China and India.

What is important to note is that it is perhaps for the first time that China has referred to the fact that the United States’ "pivot to Asia" is not only targeted against China, but also against India.