US to step up maritime defence co-operation with Southeast Asia

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter on Saturday laid out a plan to strengthen defence co-operation with Southeast Asian nations. The plan, a $425 million initiative to help regional militaries beef up their maritime defences, comes in response to China's provocations in the South China Sea.

Calling for "an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation," Carter stressed that China's island-building has concerned numerous nations, not only the US

Carter was speaking Saturday morning at an annual Asia security conference, the Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore. He used the occasion to remark on territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China appears to be bullying the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

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