[Ed. – That’ll go over big. Hanoi knows Obama has no will to stop China’s arming of her artificial island, which are being constructed on an aggressive timetable. No way Vietnam is going to stop.]
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Sunday he will urge Vietnamese officials to give up their reclamation projects in the South China Sea, making a direct plea after earlier calling for all countries in the Asia-Pacific region to halt the construction of artificial islands.
China’s rapidly expanding building projects has raised tensions and caused concerns among the United States and its regional partners.
Speaking to reporters during a stop at a Vietnamese Navy base, Carter said that all the claimants in the South China Sea must halt their reclamation and any further militarization of the sites. Those would include Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan, but their projects are dwarfed by China’s building program on reefs and atolls, which now totals more than 2,000 acres.
China is vigorously defending the projects in the face of persistent criticism from U.S. leaders, who say that the building programs will not provide Beijing any additional sovereign land. The U.S. and others are concerned that China will use the artificial islands as military bases and to assert control over navigation in the South China Sea. …
Carters’ comments come in the wake of disclosures that China had placed two motorized artillery vehicles on one of its reclamation sites.