US defence chief warns China, drawing parallel with Crimea
Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel warned China against unilateral action to resolve territorial disputes with its neighbours, drawing a parallel with Russia's incursion in Ukraine as he announced two more warships would be sent to Japan.
Seeking to reassure Washington's longtime ally Japan, Hagel's remarks and promise of more missile defence ships came as Tokyo faces a tense row with Beijing over islands in the East China Sea.
Countries had to speak up and reject such a blatant violation of international law, said Hagel, referring to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.
And in a veiled reference to China and its territorial arguments with Asian neighbours, Hagel said smaller countries had the same sovereign rights as larger states.