Speaking to the BBC during a visit to Vietnam, Carter said the US would “continue to do what we have done for seven decades since World War II ended – by being the pivotal military power in the region, which we are and will continue to be,” adding that “nothing will stop US military operations at all.”
The statements come amid rising tensions between Washington over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The US accuses China of creating islands that could be used as airstrips in the Spratly Islands and has vowed to continue sending military aircraft and ships to the tense region to protect navigation right.
Washington has repeatedly called on Beijing and others to end reclamation projects in the disputed waters. Beijing, however, rejects those demands, saying it is exercising its sovereignty and using the controversial outposts to fulfill international responsibilities.
In a DW interview, Ernest Bower, the Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, talks about the US interests in the region, its stance on the dispute, and why it rejects a new area of Chinese dominance in Asia.