China tensions top agenda as Pentagon chief heads to Asia

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter testifies about the Defense Department's fiscal year 2017 budget during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on March 17, 2016US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter headed Saturday to India and the Philippines for talks on increasing regional defense cooperation, after calling off a planned trip to China amid tensions over Beijing’s expansionist ambitions in the South China Sea. Carter will fly out of Washington and travel to India and the Philippines for his Asian tour, followed by Middle East stops in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

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