- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
- U.N. rights chief: Flight MH17 downing possible war crime
- Attack on park in Gaza war kills 10, mostly children
- Calif. protesters to block Israel-owned ships at Port of Oakland
- Obama to give Africa $38M, but tells young leaders: Stop ‘making excuses’ for economy
Question of the Day
The United Nations maintains an office in Washington to coordinate with the place variously known as the host country, the organization”s most generous contributor or “That Superpower.”
And yet, signals must have been crossed — or knotted — because on Friday, President Bush announced that he and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would host a global conference on climate change — three days after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosts his own summit in New York and smack in the middle of the organization”s biggest annual event, the General Assembly debate.
The White House sent invitations to Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea and South Africa, as well as to the United Nations.
The timing is a clear attempt to piggyback the U.S. conference onto the United Nations” annual 10-day schmooze-fest, at which most nations are represented by their foreign minister, president or prime minister.
U.N. officials were, officially, mild and encouraged in their responses: Spokesman Farhan Haq said on Friday that the organization “hoped” member states would use the opportunity to advance the work being done at the U.N. event.
Unofficially, there was considerable irritation that Washington would openly poach U.N. party guests for a rival event.
President Chen Shui-bian last week sent identical letters to the U.N. secretary-general and the president of the Security Council — which was held by China — to request discussions on the island”s fitness for membership. He petitioned them under the name of Taiwan, instead of the more formal ROC — a change that has alarmed both Washington and Beijing, where it is seen as an unwelcome step toward independence.
The timing is what makes the note interesting: China held the presidency of the council for the month of July. If Taipei had waited three days until Aug. 1, the office would have rolled alphabetically to the Republic of Congo.
David Lee, a spokesman for Mr. Chen, told reporters in Taipei last week that the letter to Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya was not meant to be inflammatory.
With 23 million people, a recognizable democracy and a bustling economy, Taiwan says it is fit for membership. In an increasingly globalized world, it says, Taiwan needs access to international strategies on avian flu, climate change and other transborder issues.
Three armed young men robbed South African U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo last week, just as he arrived in Johannesburg for a few weeks” vacation.
The thieves took the ambassador”s briefcase and baggage, as well as the wallets and cell phones of others with him. A man was shot during the holdup and was taken to a hospital.
Mr. Kumalo, a plain-spoken and approachable diplomat who was attending his grandson”s birthday party, described the holdup to local reporters as “a terrifying experience” and lamented its likely impact on tourism.
“These things also happen in New York, but they have thousands of tourists and can possibly afford to lose a few,” he told News24 in Johannesburg. “We can”t.”
A crime ring seems to have targeted diplomats in the past few weeks, with armed robbers targeting three African embassies during office hours.
Betsy Pisik may be reached via e-mail at BPisik@WashingtonTimes. com.
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- D.C. police chief orders officers not to arrest legal gun owners carrying weapons in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq