TOKYO (AP) — Ash Carter's final swing across Asia as Pentagon chief shines a spotlight on tough issues his successor will inherit. The issues include concern in Tokyo and Seoul about being forced to pay more for U.S. military protection and worries across the region about North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
Carter also will hand off to the next defense secretary unfinished diplomatic business, including deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea that North Korea and China consider provocative.
An increasingly muscular China, too, presents the incoming Trump administration with significant military challenges. Among them are Beijing's moves to establish military footholds on artificial reefs and islets in the South China Sea, which has become a flashpoint.
Carter is in Tokyo and will also visit India this week.