Carter Continues Provocations Against China; Visits U.S. Aircraft Carrier in South China Sea
April 15, 2016 (EIRNS)—Secretary of Defense Ash Carter continued his provocations against China with a visit today, to the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, steaming about sixty miles west of the Philippines island of Luzon. This is the second time Carter has boarded a US aircraft carrier sailing in the South China Sea. He flew out to USS Theodore Roosevelt in November of 2015.
Yesterday, Carter was in Manila, where, during a joint press conference with his Filipino counterpart, Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin, he revealed that the US and Philippine navies have been engaged in joint patrols in the South China Sea since March.
"Countries across the Asia-Pacific are voicing concern with China’s land reclamation, which stands out in size and scope, as well as its militarization in the South China Sea,"
Carter said. He also announced that a contingent of US Air Force combat aircraft, consisting of a half-dozen A-10 attack aircraft, helicopters and a special forces C-130, along with 75 Marines, will be staying in the country for some period of time after the Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercise, which ended today. When they leave, they’ll be followed by other US military forces rotating in. "There will be a regular, periodic presence here of American forces," Carter said. He said,
"The things that we’re doing here are part of a pattern that goes back decades. They’re by the invitation of an alliance partner."
Not everybody in the Philippines is happy with this new US deployment. "Our dispute with China can never be used as a reason to allow another country to violate our sovereignty," Renato Reyes, secretary general of the left-wing Bayan (Nation), an umbrella group of Philippine nationalist and anti-U.S. organizations, said in a statement, reports Reuters. "It cannot be used to justify the return of U.S. bases under a questionable and open-ended agreement."
The Chinese, not surprisingly, also criticized the US moves into the Philippines.
"The joint patrols between the United States and the Philippines in the South China Sea are militarizing the region and are non-beneficial to regional peace and stability,"
said a statement posted to the defense ministry’s website late April 14, reports Xinhua.
"The Chinese military will pay close attention to the situation, and resolutely defend China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests,"
the statement said.