Speaking to reporters aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt in South China Sea, Carter refuted reports that the United States is trying to create divisions in Asia.

"We're not trying to make divisions. We want China to be part of the security system of Asia and not to stand apart from it. That's why I accepted the invitation of President Xi extended to me to visit China," Carter said yesterday.

Referring to his meetings with the defence ministers of the region including that with India, Carter said the American approach to a security structure for Asia is an inclusive one.

"An American warship in the South China Sea, that's been going on for decades. And so, my visiting with defence ministers of other countries in this region is not a new thing," he said.

"The United States has long had a lot of key alliances and partnerships out here. If it's being noted today in a special way, it's because of the tension in this part of the world, mostly arising from disputes over land features in the South China Sea," Carter said.

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