The United States on Saturday called for an immediate end to China’s intensifying reclamation works in the South China Sea and vowed to continue sending military aircraft and ships to the tense region. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told a high-level security conference in Singapore that Beijing was behaving “out of step” with international norms. China insists it has sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, a major global shipping route believed to be home to oil and gas reserves. 

“First, we want a peaceful resolution of all disputes. To that end, there should be an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by all claimants,” Carter said at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue on security with a high-level Chinese military delegation in the audience. “We also oppose any further militarisation of disputed features,” he said. 

He acknowledged that other claimants have developed outposts of differing scope and degree, including Vietnam with 48, the Philippines with eight, Malaysia with five and Taiwan with one. “Yet, one country has gone much farther and much faster than any other. “China has reclaimed over 2,000 acres, more than all other claimants combined and more than in the entire history of the region. And China did so in only the last 18 months,” Carter said. FULL REPORT