South East Asia wants us to patrol West PH Sea - US

Brushing off Chinese reports that America is just stirring up trouble in a regional dispute, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the countries in Southeast Asia actually welcome the presence of US Navy ships patrolling the West Philippine Sea. “The attention to disputed claims in the [West Philippine] Sea, the prominence of those disputes, is having the effect of causing many countries in the region to want to intensify their security cooperation with the United States,” CNBC News quoted him as saying.

Carter added China’s continuing aggression as a regional power have left its smaller neighbors no choice but to seek the help of the US. China possesses the largest army in the world and is continually upgrading its navy to project power beyond its traditional areas of operation. While analysts say the US is expected to maintain its technological superiority in case of a conflict, China’s odds of winning lie mostly in the sheer numbers of its ships and their proximity to nearby bases. China, the Philippines, and several other Southeast Asian countries are engaged in a dispute over the resource-rich and strategically important West Philippine Sea. China claims almost the entire area in whole and has built at least seven artificial islands with the potential to hold military bases; sparking fears and eliciting condemnation from the international community. Tensions between the US and China have been simmering ever since the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen sailed near one of the artificial islands. While China has issued warnings it would not tolerate similar actions in the future, the US, on other other hand, has vowed to do more patrols in the region in keeping with its policy of freedom of navigation.
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