- - Thursday, October 28, 2010

CHINA

Fleet expands to ‘safeguard sea rights’

BEIJING | China is expanding its naval surveillance fleet to better protect its maritime rights, state media reported Thursday amid bitter deep-sea territorial disputes with neighboring nations.

An official at the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), which oversees China’s maritime rights, said an inspection ship already had joined the fleet and another 36 would be added later, according to the official China Daily newspaper.

The report said the latest ship — China Marine Surveillance 75 — would patrol the South China Sea, where Beijing has a number of territorial disputes over potentially resource-rich islands.

China insists that it has complete sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel islands in the South China Sea, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have competing claims.

JAPAN

Video of boat collisions given to parliament

TOKYO | Video footage of collisions between Chinese and Japanese boats near a disputed island chain was submitted to Japan’s parliament on Wednesday, threatening to inflame the row between the Asian giants.

Parliamentarians were due to debate if and when the video, filmed by the coast guard and submitted by prosecutors, will be shown to legislators.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan watched the six-minute video together with his right-hand man, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, who declined to share details of the footage with journalists.

The developments come amid the worst row in years between Beijing and Tokyo, and as Kan and his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, prepared to head to a regional summit where they may meet this week.

The video footage was taken seven weeks ago by Japan’s coast guard in the tense incident that started the diplomatic row near the disputed East China Sea island chain known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

VIETNAM

Jail, arrests contradict rights commitments

HANOI | Vietnam’s jailing of activists and arrests of bloggers contradicts the country’s commitment to human rights, the U.S. embassy said Thursday ahead of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s visit.

The comment came as the wife of another dissident — a former Communist Party official — said he was the latest to be arrested.

Vi Duc Hoi, 54, was detained Wednesday at home in northern Lang Son province bordering China, said his wife, Hoang Thi Tuoi.

His arrest came on the same day that communist Vietnam, after a trial lasting less than a day, jailed three labor activists who reportedly organized strikes and gave out “reactionary” leaflets.

One was jailed for nine years, while the other two received seven-year sentences, said a court official in the southern Mekong Delta.

CAMBODIA

U.N. chief appeals for more Khmer trials

PHNOM PENH | U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made an emotional appeal Thursday for Cambodia to send a message to the world that the Khmer Rouge’s crimes against humanity will not go unpunished.

Mr. Ban’s comments came after a tour of the Khmer Rouge’s main prison and torture center during a visit to Cambodia that was marked by heated words from the country’s leader and a crackdown on protesters, who were beaten by riot police, a rights group said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday ordered Mr. Ban to shut down the U.N. human rights office in Cambodia and remove the current envoy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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