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Iran Press TV

US accuses Beijing of military activities in S China Sea

Iran Press TV

Sun Nov 1, 2015 9:42AM

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has accused China of conducting military activities at "an unprecedented rate" in the South China Sea.

Carter, who was talking to reporters on Sunday on his way to South Korea, said discussions at an upcoming defense summit in Malaysia would include developments in the South China Sea, 'the most notable of which in the last year has been the unprecedented rate of dredging and military activity by China.'

He also said that disputes over territory in the area have caused many countries to ask the US to increase its security efforts there.

'The attention to disputed claims in the South China Sea, the prominence of those disputes, is having the effect of causing many countries in the region to want to intensify their security cooperation with the United States,' said Carter.

Washington accuses Beijing of conducting a massive "land reclamation" program through building artificial islands in the South China Sea, saying that China's projects could further militarize the region.

The US Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer within 12 nautical miles of one of China's artificial islands in the South China Sea late on Monday.

The move, which was meant to reassure allies in Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines in the face of China's actions in the Spratly Islands chain, was quickly condemned by Beijing as a "deliberate provocation."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Carter called on North Korea to avoid provocations and step away from its nuclear program.

He said Washington remains committed to the talk process among six parties which include the US, North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan. The talk process seeks the denuclearization of the peninsula.

'That remains our policy,' Carter said. 'We remain committed to achieving that negotiated outcome with North Korea, and believe that they should be on the path of doing less -- and ultimately zero -- in the nuclear field, not to be doing more.'

'We continue to call on North Korea to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula, avoid provocations, avoid adding to tensions on the peninsula and to take the steps that are called for in the six-party talks to denuclearize the peninsula,' the Pentagon chief added.

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests and explicitly indicated its intention to carry out a fourth one.

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