Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

KERRY TO PRESS CHINA ON ISLANDS

BEIJING - China today reaffirmed that it will defend its territorial claims in the South China Sea, on the eve of a visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is expected to raise America's objections to Beijing's actions.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters China won't remain passive if its interests come under attack.

Beijing this week responded angrily to a Wall Street Journal report that cited anonymous U.S. officials saying that Washington is considering sending military ships and planes to challenge Chinese claims to islands it is building in the South China Sea.

China has rattled the region with its assertive claims in the South China Sea, where islands and reefs are contested by China and five other Asian governments.

American officials say Mr. Kerry on Saturday will carry a message that China's large-scale land reclamation and general behavior in the South China Sea will hurt China's image and foreign relations, including with the U.S.

ISLAMIC STATE CAPTURES RAMADI

BAGHDAD - An Iraqi official says Islamic State militants have captured the main government compound in Ramadi, the capital of the western Anbar province, after fierce clashes with security forces.

Ramadi's Mayor Dalaf al-Kubaisi said the militants raised the black flag of the IS group over the area today after troops were forced to withdraw from the compound, which houses most of the city's government offices.

He said the IS militants are now attacking the Anbar Operation Command, the military headquarters for the province.

Also today, the U.N. cultural agency expressed alarm over clashes between Islamic State militants and Syrian government forces near the ancient city of Palmyra - one of the Middle East's most famous UNESCO world heritage sites.

UNESCO chief Irina Bokova said Palmyra, famous for its 2,000- year-old ruins, should not become the target of any military activity. …

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