By Yeganeh Torbati
(Reuters) - Disputes over territory in the South China Sea are causing countries in the region to increase their demand for an American security presence, the U.S. defense chief said on Sunday.
“The attention to disputed claims in the South China Sea, the prominence of those disputes, is having the effect of causing many countries in the region to want to intensify their security cooperation with the United States,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters on his way to South Korea for high-level security talks.
Carter said a topic of discussion at an upcoming defense summit in Malaysia would include developments in the South China Sea, “the most notable of which in the last year has been the unprecedented rate of dredging and military activity by China.”
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati, Editing by Kim Coghill)