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Saturday, June 4, 2016, 16:14

Carter proposes Asia-Pacific 'security network'

By Agencies

Carter proposes Asia-Pacific 'security network'
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter delivers a speech titled "Meeting Asia's Complex Security Challenges" at the 15th International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-la Dialogue, or IISS, Asia Security Summit on  June 4, 2016, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

SINGAPORE —  US Defense Secretary Ash Carter is proposing to accelerate and deepen defense cooperation in the Asia-Pacific by expanding a "security network" of countries whose militaries would train together and eventually operate together.

Speaking to an international security conference in Singapore on Saturday, Carter said this security network would represent "the next wave" in Asia-Pacific security.

"It is inclusive, since any nation and any military - no matter its capability, budget, or experience - can contribute. Everyone gets a voice, no one is excluded, and hopefully, no one excludes themselves," he said.

Carter said China would be also welcomed in this network.

Rear Adm. Guan Youfei, director of the foreign affairs office of China's National Defense Ministry, said Beijing welcomes the US establishing close relations with Asian countries. But he urged Washington to scale back its military exercises in the region and to reduce "provocations" such as operating military aircraft and ships in close proximity to other countries.

"I believe this will help the US play a better role in the region," he said, speaking through an interpreter.

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