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Military

Iran Press TV

US will 'fly, sail and operate' in South China Sea

Iran Press TV

Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:44AM

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has taken on China, saying the United States military forces will be present in the South China Sea like other international waters.

At a joint press conference after a meeting with his Australian counterpart, Marise Payne, Carter said the sensitive region is no "exception."

"Make no mistake, the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world, and the South China Sea will not be an exception," Carter said.

He also responded to a question regarding the US presence inside the 12-nautical-mile limits of Chinese islands built on reefs in the Spratly archipelago.

"We will do that in the time and places of our choosing," Carter said.

Beijing officials voiced anger last week over maneuver plans to bring US warships' into the disputed waters.

Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said: "We hope the United States can look upon the current situation of the South China Sea from an objective and fair perspective and play a constructive role together with China in keeping the peace and stability in the South China Sea."

"I believe the US side is extremely clear about China's relevant principled stance," he added.

Washington has sided with China's rivals in the territorial dispute, with Beijing accusing the US of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.

China claims sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. The waters are believed to sit atop vast reserves of oil and gas.



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