All papers reported on Saturday evening or Sunday morning on a speech delivered by Defense Secretary Carter on Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. Asahi wrote that Carter strongly criticized China’s military expansion in the South China Sea by saying it is taking “expansive and unprecedented actions,” and announced that the U.S. military will dispatch assault-type nuclear submarines, next-generation B-21 stealth bombers, and unmanned submarines to the Asia Pacific region, including the South China Sea, over the next several decades. The paper said the Secretary’s remarks imply the U.S.’s intention to deter China’s moves in the South China Sea using state-of-the-art weapons, in addition to its “freedom of navigation” operations. Carter also reportedly pointed out that China’s maritime expansion and actions in cyberspace are generating concern and opposition, and said that if China continues to take such actions, it could end up “erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation.”
In a related development, all Monday morning papers reported on remarks made by PLA Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff Sun Jianguo at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Sunday, during which he rebutted the United States’ criticism of China’s militarization of the South China Sea and its “freedom of navigation” operations in the region. The Chinese official made it clear that Beijing will not accept the ruling to be made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on its claim over the region. He also expressed strong opposition to the U.S. plan to deploy the THAAD missile system in South Korea.