U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will visit a U.S. aircraft carrier transiting its position in the South China Sea on Thursday, November 5, 2015. After he attended a high-level defense ministers meeting in Malaysia. As the U.S. sought to show strength and assert its role as a counterweight to China.

US Defense Chief Ashton Carter

Secretary Carter will visit the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) with Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, U.S. officials said. A move that will surely raise the ire of China as tensions between Washington and Beijing simmer over the disputed region.

In spite of Beijing’s worries about American patrols, Secretary Carter is doubling down on the signals he means to send while he is in the region by visiting the aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt.

USS Theodore Roosevelt’s flight deck

“Teddy Roosevelt’s presence there and our visit is a symbol of our commitment to our rebalance (to Asia) and the importance of the Asia-Pacific to the United States,” Secretary Carter said.

The warship’s is “conducting routine operations while transiting the South China Sea”, Its presence in the South China Sea is “a symbol of our dedication to the rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific region, Secretary Carter said, referring to the Obama administration’s signature foreign policy of increasing U.S. engagement with Asian nations.

USS-Theodore-Roosevelt-carrier- battle group

The Theodore Roosevelt isn’t expected to sail within 12 nautical miles of any of the disputed islands, as the destroyer USS Lassen did last week, in a direct challenge to Chinese claims there.

U.S. defense official said that the U.S. Navy plans to conduct patrols within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands in the South China Sea about twice a quarter to remind China and other countries about U.S. rights under international law.

U.S. defense officials added that Secretary Carter would not be on any warship carrying out such patrols. - By: Carl E.

Images used credited to stripes.com, france24.com, cvdvn.net, globalita.com