Hagel to China: US Committed to Defense of its Asia Allies
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is warning that the U.S. will defend its Asian allies in the event of any conflict with China.
The Pentagon chief made his comments Tuesday after meeting in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan.
Hagel said Washington is "fully committed" to treaties obliging it to protect its longtime allies Japan and the Philippines.
Manila and Tokyo are among several Asian countries that accuse China of using intimidation to advance its maritime claims.
Hagel also renewed U.S. criticism of the air defense identification zone set up by China last year that covers islands also claimed by Tokyo.
Lavrov Wants Southeastern Regions Included in Ukraine Talks
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the southeastern parts of Ukraine should be included in talks about the country's future.
He told reporters Tuesday in Moscow that Russia wants to see those regions, which are largely Russian-speaking, represented in multilateral talks.
In Paris, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned that further Russian intervention in Ukraine would be a "historic mistake" that would further isolate Russia from the world.
Also Tuesday, Russia's foreign ministry called on Ukraine to halt what it called military preparations in the southeast that could lead to civil war.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said 70 protesters were arrested in an anti-terror operation to drive out pro-Russian demonstrators who seized a government building in the city of Kharkiv.
Pro-Russian demonstrators took over buildings Sunday in the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk. They are demanding referendums on splitting with Ukraine -- the same kind of vote that took place last month in Crimea.