481262245-676x450The United States cautioned China Thursday that it will meet its defense commitments to allies as tensions mount over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel told a congressional hearing that some Asian countries fear that Russia’s annexation of Crimea could serve as a precedent for Beijing. In China’s most recent assertive display, its coast guard ships attempted to interdict a Philippine vessel resupplying a small offshore garrison in the Second Thomas Shoal. The Philippines is a U.S. treaty ally and one of several nations with conflicting territorial claims with China over small islands and reefs in the South China Sea, most of which China claims for itself. “There should be no doubt about resolve of the United States. We stand by our allies and we stand by our commitments,” Russel, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, told a Senate panel that oversees policy to the region. More