Carter, speaking to reporters at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia, said the
was trying to maintain a shared regional security structure that had advanced
"prosperity for everyone" over the past 70 years. United States
"We've been flying over the
South China Sea for years and
years and years, and ... will continue to do that: fly, navigate, operate. So
that's not a new fact," Carter said.
"The new facts are the reclamation and the scale on which it is being done, and that's not an American fact, that's a Chinese fact," Carter said.
United States has publicly highlighted Chinese
island-building in the disputed several times in
recent weeks. Carter called for an end to the land reclamation work by Spratly
Islands and other
countries on Wednesday and a halt to the militarization of the territorial
The U.S. Navy last week sent a reconnaissance plane carrying Navy and television camera crews to film the Chinese dredging work, which
officials say has added some
2,000 acres to five outposts in the resource-rich Spratlys, including 1,500
this year. U.S.
The Spratlys are claimed by half a dozen countries, including the
Malaysia, Vietnam and . China
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying deflected criticism, saying it was the
Philippines that had conducted large-scale
construction activities on what she said were China's
islands and reefs since the 1970s, saying would not "recognize the
illegal occupation". China
"We urge the
Philippines to stop making
erroneous remarks and we also urge the United
States, which is not a party to the South
China Sea dispute, to take a responsible attitude, be prudent in
words and deeds, be reasonable and calm, and stop making provocative
remarks," she told a news conference.
"These types of remarks are not conducive to solving the dispute peacefully, but will further damage the region's peace and stability."
Carter, asked whether the
would send ships to within 12 miles of the Chinese-built islands to demonstrate
Washington does not accept 's territorial claims, said, "The
United States will ... fly, sail, operate, wherever international law
He also rejected the notion that the islands, which
built on previously submerged
reefs, could claim 12 miles of territorial waters. China
"The 12 nautical miles that I think you're referring to does not pertain to features that were submerged and now are no longer submerged," Carter said.http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/05/29/15/china-reclamation-west-ph-sea-creates-new-facts-says-us-defense-chief