U.S. and Asia-Pacific Partners Meet to Discuss China and North Korea

U.S. and Asia-Pacific Partners Meet to Discuss China and North Korea

A detailed map of disputes in the South China Sea. Image via Wikipedia.

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WASHINGTON — United States Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with the defense leaders of several nations from the Asia-Pacific region to discuss a myriad of issues including, disputes in the South China Sea and North Korean aggression, according to a Department of Defense press release.

The meeting was part of an annual summit called the Shangri-La Dialogue, formerly known as the Asia Security Summit, which began in 2002 and was started by the UK based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Carter, along with South Korean Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo and Japanese Minister of Defense Gen. Nakatani, condemned recent nuclear tests by North Korea. The trio reiterated their commitment to enforce United Nations Security Council resolution 2270.

The resolution was passed in March, which added new cargo inspection rules for trade entering and leaving North Korea as well as prohibited aviation fuel and some “rare minerals” due to the country’s “flagrant disregard” for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty.

Due to increased aggression from North Korea, the United States, Japan and South Korea intend to conduct a trilateral missile warning exercise dubbed Pacific Dragon in which the three countries will track and destroy dummy ballistic missiles, according to the release.

In a separate meeting with Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, Carter discussed the on-going issue of disputes in the South China Sea. Specifically Carter and Ryacudu discussed the pending arbitration of The Republic of the Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China in which the Philippine’s is disputing China’s claim over portions of the South China Sea.

The case is being heard at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague and the Philippine’s has gained support from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Palestine and Afghanistan, among others, disagree with the action and believe bilateral talks should be considered.

Some have compared the case to the 1986 case of Nicaragua v. United States in which Nicaragua sought reprirations from the U.S. for it’s support of the Contras in their rebellion against Nicaraguan mining operations. In both cases a developing country is challenging a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in an arbitral tribunal.

Carter and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson spoke briefly to the press about the developments in the region.

“We want to cooperate with China in all domains as much as possible,” Richardson said, adding, “but we have to confront them if we must.”

“Each country is going to have to make its own choices out here,” Carter said to reporters. “We hope that every country, including China, chooses to be part of the network and not to exclude themselves from that system. But that’s a choice each country has to make on its own.”

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