Tensions are brewing on the other side of the world as the United States just warned China on the implications of continuing its interests in the South China Sea region. According to the United States, China’s deployment of surface-to-air missiles in the conflicted region can be considered “aggressive” with corresponding consequences.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called out Beijing on its recent actions in the conflicted region. “China must not pursue militarization in the South China Sea,” Reuters quoted Carter during a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Furthermore, Carter explained to reporters that the US has also increased deployments in the Asia-Pacific region when asked on what consequences the West is talking about.
He also added that the country would invest up to $425 million up to 2020 to fund war games with other nations. Carter noted that the trilateral agreements made recently were because of China’s recent actions in the disputed region. A few years back, it would have been “unthinkable” to establish such agreements. The West already carried out several exercises in the area to challenge claims on freedom of navigation.
“There is no question that there are consequences for these actions,” added Carter. “We have plans in all three of these categories. You’ll see them unfolding.” Pentagon is also poised to increased spending in the coming years including $8 billion in fiscal 2017 alone to develop undersea drones and submarines.
China has been at the center of the tensions after it was accused of militarizing the area further last year. Beijing refused the claims but other claimants like the Philippines has already contested the matter. In another report from the Sydney Morning Herald, Chinese vessels were recently accused of forcing local fishermen from the Philippines out of a traditional fishing ground. According to the report, Eugenio Bito-onon Jr, the mayor of Kalayaan islands in the Philippines province of Palawan, claimed that the ships have been there for a month now. One fishing operator even said that they cannot enter the area because of so many ships.