"China sometimes plays by its own rules," Carter stated. "The result is that China’s actions could erect a great wall of self-isolation."
Carter characterized China’s construction and subsequent militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea as both expansive and unprecedented.
"We are determined to stand with partners in upholding core principles like freedom of navigation, overflight, free flow of commerce and the peaceful resolution of disputes through legal means and in accordance with international law," Carter claimed.
In rejecting Chinese claims, the United States frequently conducts exercises with other nations in the region, in which ships and planes deliberately come within the 12-mile international limit of China’s military bases on both sides of the international waterway.