World

In symbolic gesture, US defense chief visiting aircraft carrier in South China Sea

  • FILE - In this May 29, 2003 file photo, sailors man the rails as the USS Theodore Roosevelt is maneuvered into it's berth at the Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Va. Defense Secretary Carter was flying Thursday onto the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an American aircraft carrier in the disputed waterway. Carter is using the visit to the USS Theodore Roosevelt to amplify the U.S. view that China is making excessive claims that nearly all of the South China Sea as its territory.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

    FILE - In this May 29, 2003 file photo, sailors man the rails as the USS Theodore Roosevelt is maneuvered into it's berth at the Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Va. Defense Secretary Carter was flying Thursday onto the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an American aircraft carrier in the disputed waterway. Carter is using the visit to the USS Theodore Roosevelt to amplify the U.S. view that China is making excessive claims that nearly all of the South China Sea as its territory. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter listens to a question during a news conference after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. In a symbolic swipe at China's muscular moves in the South China Sea, Carter was flying Thursday onto the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an American aircraft carrier in the disputed waterway. Carter is using the visit to the USS Theodore Roosevelt to amplify the U.S. view that China is making excessive claims that nearly all of the South China Sea as its territory. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

    Defense Secretary Ash Carter listens to a question during a news conference after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. In a symbolic swipe at China's muscular moves in the South China Sea, Carter was flying Thursday onto the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an American aircraft carrier in the disputed waterway. Carter is using the visit to the USS Theodore Roosevelt to amplify the U.S. view that China is making excessive claims that nearly all of the South China Sea as its territory. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)  (The Associated Press)

In a symbolic swipe at China's muscular moves in the South China Sea, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is flying onto a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the disputed waterway.

Carter, who was in Malaysia to attend two days of talks with Asian defense ministers, is using the visit to the USS Theodore Roosevelt to amplify the U.S. view that China is making excessive territorial claims in the South China Sea. He also was signaling that the U.S. will keep a strong naval presence in the region.

Carter's Malaysian counterpart planned to accompany him to the carrier, highlighting U.S. efforts to strengthen defense partnerships in the Asia-Pacific. Malaysia is among several countries that claim a portion of the South China Sea and disagree with China's building of artificial islands.