U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Tuesday warned China against “aggressive” actions in the South China Sea region, including the placement of surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island.
“China must not pursue militarization in the South China Sea,” Carter said in a wide-ranging speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. “Specific actions will have specific consequences.”
Asked what the consequences could be, Carter told reporters the U.S. military was already increasing deployments to the Asia-Pacific region and would spend $425 million through 2020 to pay for more exercises and training with countries in the region that were unnerved by China’s actions.
He said China’s behavior had fueled trilateral agreements that would have been “unthinkable” even a few years ago.