Secretary Ash Carter on Tuesday warned China against what he called “aggressive” actions in the South China Sea region, including the placement of surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island, and said they would have consequences.
“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.”
He did not elaborate, but underscored the U.S. military’s determination to safeguard maritime security around the world, and particularly in the South China Sea region, which sees about 30 percent of the world’s trade transit its waters each year.
The U.S. defense chief also took aim at both Russia and China for their actions to limit Internet access, as well as state-sponsored cyber threats, cyber espionage and cyber crime.
In his prepared remarks, Carter drew a sharp contrast between such behavior by Russia and China and what he described as much healthier U.S. actions to preserve Internet freedom.