Briefly: China OKs supply dock in disputed islands

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CHINA

BEIJING — China’s government said Thursday that it had approved a provincial proposal to build a supply dock in the South China Sea, where Beijing is beefing up its claims of sovereignty amid territorial disputes with five other governments.

The State Oceanic Administration said it had agreed “principally” to a proposal by southernmost Hainan province to build the dock over more than 823 acres of sea space off Jinqing island to service China’s tourism and fishing activities in the South China Sea.

Jinqing is part of the disputed Paracel Islands, and the move could further raise tensions with rival claimant Vietnam.

A separate proposal to build another comprehensive supply dock in the South China Sea is under consideration, the administration’s three-sentence statement said without elaborating.

Hainan Vice Governor Tan Li said earlier this week that he was determined to start tourism development in the Paracel Islands this year.

China ejected forces of the former South Vietnam from the Paracels in 1974, but Vietnam claims the islands as part of its territory and protested China’s plans to develop tourism there in 2009.

SRI LANKA

U.N. finds cluster bombs in northern Sri Lanka

NEW DELHI — A report from a U.N. mine-removal expert says unexploded cluster munitions have been found in northern Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm, for the first time, that the weapons were used in that country’s long civil war.

The revelation is likely to increase calls for an international investigation into possible war crimes stemming from the bloody final months of fighting in the quarter-century civil war, which ended in May 2009.

The government repeatedly has denied reports it used cluster munitions during the final months of fighting.

Cluster munitions are packed with small “bomblets” that scatter indiscriminately and often harm civilians. Those that fail to detonate often kill civilians long after fighting ends.

They are banned under an international treaty adopted by more than 60 nations that took effect in August 2010.

PAKISTAN

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