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Carter Warns China U.S. Will Go Wherever Global Law Permits

Ashton Carter, former deputy secretary of defense and U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee to be U.S. secretary of defense, pauses while speaking during a Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.

Ashton Carter, former deputy secretary of defense and U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee to be U.S. secretary of defense, pauses while speaking during a Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter delivered the strongest U.S. warning yet against China’s moves in the South China Sea, demanding a halt to land reclamation in disputed waters and vowing that the U.S. will remain Asia’s leading power “for decades to come.”

Heading for a 10-day tour of the Asia-Pacific, Carter called on countries in the region to settle territorial claims with diplomacy rather than force.