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Pentagon chief heads east as US tries to maintain Asia focus

FILE - In this March 18, 2015 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter listens on Capitol Hill in Washington. To put a spotlight back on Asia, Carter will visit Japan and South Korea this week, the first of a string of planned trips to the region during his first year as Pentagon chief. He will visit India and attend an international security conference in Singapore in May, and he may visit China later in the year. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Islamic extremists grab parts of Iraq and Syria. Yemen slides into civil war. Iran’s nuclear program strains U.S. relations with Israel. Ukraine fights Russian-backed separatists.

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