China rejects criticism by U.S. defense chief
China accused Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel of using threatening and unexpected language in a speech earlier Saturday in which he criticized Chinese aggression in maritime disputes with its Asian neighbors. Hagel's remarks to an Asian security conference in Singapore were "excessive beyond … imagination" and "suffused with hegemonism … threats and intimidation," Lt. Gen. Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of staff of the Chinese military, said in remarks reported in the Chinese media. U.S. defense officials said that Hagel had purposefully used strong language in the speech to criticize what he called China's "destabilizing, unilateral actions" in pressing its control of air and sea lanes in the region. Most recently, China has overflown islands under Japanese administration in the East China Sea. Vietnam has also protested a Chinese claim to energy resources in the sea.
Seattle: Mount Rainier National Park officials said Saturday that six climbers are presumed dead after helicopters detected pings from emergency beacons buried in the snow and a debris field that may indicate an avalanche. The last contact was on Wednesday.
South Korea: North Korea said Saturday that it had sentenced a South Korean Baptist missionary to a labor camp for life for allegedly trying to build underground churches in the country.
West Bank: The formation of a Palestinian unity government backed by rivals Hamas and Fatah will be announced Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday.