The US has promised to “sharpen its military edge” in Asia Pacific in order to remain the dominant power in a region feeling the effects of China’s rising military might, defense secretary Ash Carter said.
Carter made the pledge on Thursday in a speech aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in San Diego.
The Pentagon chief described what he called the next phase of a US pivot to Asia — a rebalancing of American security commitments after years of heavy focus on the Middle East.
His speech, aimed at reassuring allies unsettled by China’s behavior in the South China Sea, came three days after he made remarks at a nuclear missile base in North Dakota about rebuilding the nuclear force. Those comments prompted a strong reaction from the Russian foreign ministry, which issued a statement saying it had interpreted Carter’s statement as a declared intention to lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons.