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US seeks to reassure Japan amid Ukraine crisis fallout

Published on Apr 5, 2014 2:40 PM

YOKOTA AIR BASE (AFP) - US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday vowed America would stand by its security commitments to Tokyo, after Russia's intervention in Ukraine raised concerns in a region plagued by its own territorial disputes.

Hagel, on a two-day visit to Japan as part of a tour of Asia, said Russia's annexation of Crimea had sparked worries among allies in the Pacific and elsewhere.

Japan is locked in a bitter dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea, and some analysts have warned that Russia's move in Ukraine could embolden Beijing or other powers to take unilateral action to settle territorial claims.

"It's a pretty predictable ... reaction, not just of nations in this area, in this region, but all over the world. It has to concern nations," Hagel told reporters before landing at Yokota Air Base in Japan.

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