- - Thursday, September 22, 2011

CHINA

Government condemns U.S.-Taiwan arms deal

BEIJINGChina on Thursday strongly condemned a $5.85 billion U.S. deal to upgrade Taiwan’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets, summoning the American ambassador and warning the move will undermine warming military relations.

China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, urged the United States to cancel the deal and said it had jeopardized recent improvements in military ties between the two world powers and affected relations with Taiwan.

Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun summoned U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke to protest the deal.

SOUTH KOREA

Activists urge China to accept North Korean refugees

SEOUL — South Korean activists staged a protest Thursday outside the Chinese embassy in Seoul, urging Beijing to stop repatriating refugees who flee hunger or repression in North Korea.

About 30 activists, including many North Korean defectors now citizens in the South, chanted slogans like “Stop forced repatriation!” and “Protect North Korean refugees!”

Tens of thousands of people have fled North Korea with the vast majority going first to China, which repatriates those refugees it catches despite the risk of harsh punishment in their homeland.

BANGLADESH

Strikes over fuel prices shut schools, businesses

DHAKA — Thousands of police patrolled the streets of the Bangladeshi capital on Thursday, as a nationwide strike called by the main opposition party and its Islamist allies shut schools and businesses.

The strike focused on rising fuel prices and the detention of top opposition figures by a tribunal set up to prosecute atrocities carried out during the country’s liberation struggle in 1971.

PHILIPPINES

Experts eye plan to settle sea dispute

MANILA — Southeast Asian maritime experts were close to endorsing a Philippine plan for settling a long-standing dispute over potentially oil-rich islands in the South China Sea that are claimed by six countries including China.

The experts gathered in Manila Thursday for a two-day discussion of the plan, which is seen an attempt by the Philippines to present a unified regional policy in confronting China. Beijing claims all the islands while the other countries claim them in part, in a constantly bubbling dispute that has often led to regional tensions.

The meeting was limited to maritime and legal experts from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

CAMBODIA

Helicopters rescue tourists from floods near ancient temple

PHNOM PENH — Flash floods at a centuries-old temple in northeastern Cambodia stranded about 200 foreign tourists Thursday, forcing officials to use helicopters to evacuate them to a nearby town.

The group visiting the 10th century Banteay Srey temple included tourists from the United States, South Korea, France, Britain and Russia, district official Mom Vuthy said. The flooding also forced thousands of area residents to abandon their homes for high ground, or to camp on roofs or in trees, he said.

INDONESIA

American pilot, two others dies in plane crash

JAKARTA — A small plane has crashed Thursday in Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua, killing all three people on board, including the American pilot, police said.

Lt. Col. Wachyono said the privately chartered Pilatus aircraft went down while delivering logistical supplies from the town of Pagai to Wamena.

He said the bodies of the American pilot, identified as Paul Westlund, and two Papuans have been evacuated to the provincial capital, Jayapura.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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