US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who earlier announced the US military would sail or fly wherever international law allowed delivers remarks at The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) 2015 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington on October 14, 2015. REUTERS
US naval vessels sailing through international waters in the South China Sea, including areas claimed by China, cannot be considered provocative, the US Navy's most senior uniformed officer said on Thursday, while a Chinese newspaper called for a firm response to any "unscrupulous" US behavior.
"It should not come as a surprise to anybody that we will exercise freedom of navigation wherever international law allows," John Richardson, the
"I don't see how this can be interpreted as provocative."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying repeated that
"But we resolutely oppose any country doing harm to another country's sovereignty and security in the name of freedom of navigation and overflight," she told reporters.
Not freedom, just hegemony
The Global Times, a widely read and influential tabloid, said in an editorial that these potential US patrols were not really about freedom of navigation, but a show of strength intended to emphasize US global hegemony.
"From this perspective, China absolutely must not permit the US side's warships and planes to behave unscrupulously near islands and reefs reclaimed by China and in skies overhead, and challenge China's bottom line," said the paper, which is published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily.
Some analysts in
US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said on Tuesday the
Richardson, who was promoted to his post last month, is in