US Sends Warplanes, Troops, and Ashton Carter to South China Sea

Friday, April 15, 2016
By Paul Martin

Regional military war games see heavy uptick of weaponry in the region, and, in a new move, much of it will stay after the drills are done.

On Friday, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that the US military is dispatching warplanes and troops to the South China Sea as tensions with Beijing over the contested Spratly and Paracel Islands simmer.

The Secretary of Defense, who visited a new US aircraft carrier in the South China Sea on Friday, also said that US and Philippine troops will be conducting joint naval patrols and joint air patrols to deter Chinese ‘expansionism’ in the region.

The Paracel and Spratly island chains, contested by China and several of its South China Sea neighbors, have been a major area of contention in recent years. China, under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, has the most direct claim to the territories, and has taken steps in recent months to cement those claims by establishing civilian air travel to the islands and setting up military air hangars.

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