Obama Departs for 8 Day Tour of Asia
U.S. President Barack Obama has left for a four-nation tour of Asia, where he will try to convince allies that Washington is committed to its "rebalancing" in the Pacific.
Security concerns over China's territorial claims and North Korea's nuclear program will be a major focus of Mr. Obama's trip, which include stops in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
The eight-day tour begins in Tokyo late Wednesday with a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Japan is embroiled in a growing dispute with Beijing over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
Ahead of his visit, Mr. Obama told Japan's Yomiuri
newspaper the United States opposes "any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan's administration of these islands." He also stressed the islands fall under a treaty that requires the U.S. to defend Japan if attacked.
Mr. Obama will also try to make progress with Japan on the long-delayed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal. But many say Japan's reluctance to drop tariffs on agricultural products makes chances of a breakthrough slim.
Ukraine Formally Calls Off Easter Truce with Pro-Russian Separatists
Ukraine has formally called off the Easter truce against pro-Russian separatists in the east and says anti-terrorist operations are on again.
First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema told reporters during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday that what he calls "appropriate steps" will be taken and that results will be seen shortly.
Yarema said Ukraine has gotten assurances from the United States that it would not be left alone to face Russian aggression. He expressed hope that the U.S. support will be more substantive.
The Pentagon said Tuesday it is sending 600 U.S. troops to Poland and the Baltics to "send a message" to Moscow and to reassure American allies and partners.
Ukraine's interim President Oleksandr Turchynov has already ordered security forces to resume "anti-terror" operations in eastern Ukraine. His order came just hours after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden ended a two-day trip to Kiyv.
Biden called on Moscow to honor its promise to withdraw support for armed pro-Russian separatists inside Ukraine.
Ukrainian military moves last week to drive the separatists from government buildings they have seized in about a dozen cities failed.
An agreement signed in Geneva last week aimed at cooling tensions in Ukraine has gone nowhere and the pro-Russians are showing no signs of backing down.