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Ko Olina, Hawaii — The US and partner nations in Southeast Asia are increasing coordination among navies to ensure that waterways are "open and secure" while China has raised tensions in the South China Sea, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said. Speaking at an informal meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Hawaii, Carter said he is directing the US Navy and US Coast Guard to hold a "maritime dialogue" with the 10 member nations of ASEAN, and invite those nations to participate in a "maritime awareness exercise." He also invited the member nations to visit the Joint Interagency Task Force-South in Florida to use that as a model to show how the US military, partner nations, and law enforcement can work together in a complex maritime environment.