MANILA, Philippines – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says he will be visiting an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, the visit coming a day after he announced new military aid to the Philippines that spurred protests from China.
It would be the second time that Carter has flown onto a carrier while it is embarked in the hotly contested South China Sea. He will be on the USS John C. Stennis, but it is not clear exactly where it is afloat.
Carter's stop is likely to further rile Beijing, which claims much of the sea as its own and is building manmade islands there. China is stationing aircraft and other weapons systems on the islands.
Carter announced the visit during a closing ceremony for a joint U.S.-Philippines military exercise.