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May 30, 2015

U.S. defense chief says China’s island-building erodes security

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned on Saturday that Beijing’s island-building in the South China Sea was undermining security in the Asia-Pacific and he called for a diplomatic push to solve the territorial dispute that is driving China’s effort.

Carter, speaking to top defense officials from across the Asia-Pacific, acknowledged that several countries had created outposts in the region’s disputed islands, but he said the scope of China’s activity created uncertainty about its future plans.

May 29, 2015

Break the vicious cycle, Singapore tells South China Sea rivals

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s prime minister called on countries on Friday to break the “vicious cycle” of the South China Sea row, as the United States and China exchanged increasingly angry barbs over reclaimed islands in the disputed waterway.

Inaugurating Asia’s biggest security forum, the Shangri-La Dialogue, Lee Hsien Loong also warned of the threat of Islamic State militancy in Southeast Asia and said it was not inconceivable that the ultra-radicals could establish a base in the region physically under their control, like in Syria or Iraq.

May 28, 2015

China land reclamation in South China Sea creates ‘new facts’: U.S.

MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in Washington’s latest challenge of Chinese land reclamation in the South China Sea, said the scale of Beijing’s activities, not the United States, was altering the status quo in the region.

Carter, speaking to reporters at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia, said the United States was trying to maintain a shared regional security structure that has advanced “prosperity for everyone” over the past 70 years.

May 28, 2015

Pentagon mulls improving Iraqi troop training after fall of Ramadi

MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Thursday Pentagon officials have begun to examine how the U.S. military could better equip and train Iraqi troops after the recent fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to Islamic State insurgents.

Carter told reporters on his plane to Asia that he had convened a group of defense policy officials and military officers from U.S. Central Command and the Pentagon’s Joint Staff to look at how “we can enhance, hasten” the mission to train and equip Iraqi forces.

May 28, 2015

U.S. hopes Chinese island-building will spur Asian response

WASHINGTON, May 28 (Reuters) – By releasing video of
Beijing’s island reclamation work and considering more assertive
maritime actions, the United States is signaling a tougher
stance over the South China Sea and trying to spur Asian
partners to more action.

The release last week of the surveillance plane footage -
showing dredgers and other ships busily turning remote outcrops
into islands with runways and harbors – helps ensure the issue
will dominate an Asian security forum starting on Friday
attended by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter as well as senior
Chinese military officials.

May 27, 2015

Pentagon chief urges end to island-building in South China Sea

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called on Wednesday for a halt to island-building by China and other parties in the South China Sea and an end to militarization of the territorial disputes in the region.

Carter said the United States would be the principal security power in the region for decades to come, and that the U.S. military’s airplanes and warships would continue to operate in the region wherever permitted under international law.

May 21, 2015

U.S. admits two children killed in Islamic State campaign

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two children were likely killed by a U.S. air strike in Syria in November, the U.S. military said on Thursday, the first time the Pentagon has acknowledged civilian casualties since it began an air campaign against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

Two noncombatant adults also received minor injuries in the November air strikes, which targeted an explosives manufacturing facility operated by the al Qaeda-linked Khorasan Group, the U.S. military’s Central Command said after an investigation of the reported casualties.

May 19, 2015

Ramadi’s fall shows U.S. comments on Iraq too optimistic -analysts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. assurances that Islamic State rebels were on the defensive even as they drove Iraqi forces from the key city of Ramadi are typical of the often unwarranted optimism that has characterized U.S. public comments on the conflict, analysts said on Tuesday.

In the period before Iraqi troops retreated over the weekend, senior U.S. military officials played down the strategic importance of the city, the capital of the vast western Anbar province, and said advances being trumpeted by Islamic State social media were just short-term gains.

May 12, 2015

U.S. Marine helicopter with eight aboard missing in Nepal quake zone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Marine Corps helicopter was declared missing on Tuesday with six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers aboard as it was ferrying rice and tarps to earthquake victims in rugged terrain in Nepal, near a town hard hit by the latest deadly aftershocks.

Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said reports from the field indicated the helicopter’s crew was overheard talking about fuel problems before U.S. military officials lost contact with the light attack helicopter.

May 8, 2015

China accelerates land reclamation in disputed islands: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China embarked upon extensive land reclamation efforts at five outposts in the disputed Spratly Islands last year, adding huge amounts of terrain to bolster its civil and military presence in an area claimed by rivals, a new Pentagon report said on Friday.

Chinese building and land-filling efforts have accelerated this year, with the total acreage added to the outposts in the South China Sea growing from 500 in December to about 2,000 today, a U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    • About David

      "David has been a journalist for 30 years, based in Washington, London, New Delhi, Jerusalem and Philadelphia. He covered the first Gulf war, the Palestinian intifada and the conflict in Kashmir. Since 1998 he has been an editor and reporter in Washington, covering politics, the White House and other stories."
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