**During Meeting With Obama, Japan's Noda Welcomes US 'Pivot'**
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda warned of a worsening security situation in the Asia-Pacific, as he met with U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday on the sidelines of a regional summit in Cambodia.
Prime Minister Noda told President Obama that he welcomes Washington's recent "pivot" toward the region, which comes amid worsening territorial disputes between China and several U.S. allies, including Tokyo.
President Obama said the meeting was another opportunity to affirm what he called the "extraordinary alliance" between the U.S. and Japan.
Washington denies taking sides in the sovereignty disputes between China and its rival claimants, though Beijing suspects the U.S. rebalance toward the region is aimed at containing its rise.
President Obama did not mention the territorial disputes in his public remarks with Mr. Noda, or in his later meeting with outgoing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
**Israel Pounds Gaza as Clinton Plans Mid East Diplomacy Trip**
U.S. President Barack Obama is sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Israel, Ramallah and Cairo to meet with regional leaders as the cross border conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza enters its seventh day.
Clinton is leaving Tuesday to go to Jerusalem, where she will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She will also meet with Palestinian leaders and Egyptian officials on the trip, which the White House says will focus on U.S interest in a peaceful outcome to the conflict.
Diplomacy has so-far failed to stop the cross-border attacks, with the latest U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation ending late Monday without reaching an agreement.
Meanwhile, smoke is rising from Gaza City Tuesday as Israel pushed ahead with its air campaign against Hamas militants, who have been firing rockets toward Israeli communities.
Officials say the death toll has risen to more than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Tuesday for an immediate cease-fire. He arrived in Cairo Monday to support mediation efforts.