- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Warning North Korea

Thomas Foley, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, warned North Korea yesterday against threatening other countries and exporting weapons to unstable regions from the Pacific to the Middle East.
The United States, South Korea and Japan are trying to coax the Stalinist state into responsible behavior and to "begin walking down the path of engagement and cooperation," Mr. Foley told the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.
"However, before we can build a safe and secure Pacific community, North Korea needs to desist from threatening its neighbors, exporting destabilizing weapons and engaging in behavior that leaves it isolated from the international community," he said.
Mr. Foley also addressed the instability in Indonesia, reiterating Clinton administration support for the government of the democratically elected president, Abdurrahman Wahid.
"I don't think anyone I know thinks [the breakup of Indonesia] would be a healthy event," he said.
Over the weekend, President Clinton sent a message of support to Mr. Wahid through Robert Gelbard, U.S. ambassador to Indonesia.
Last week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard C. Holbrooke expressed Washington's concern over rumors of a planned military coup.
Mr. Foley, addressing U.S.-Japanese trade, called for more deregulation of the telecommunications sector to promote growth in Japan.
He cited the "very high interconnection rates required by" Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. as a drag on Japan's information-technology industry.

A 'high-level' envoy

p]Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has named a new ambassador to the United States, one he calls a "high-level diplomat."
Mr. Kuchma has named Kostiantyn Hryshchenko to replace Anton Buteiko, who served here for less than a year before being dismissed in December.
Mr. Hryshchenko, 46, was most recently Ukraine's ambassador to NATO.
"The United States is one of our main foreign priorities. That is why a high-level diplomat should head Ukraine's embassy," Mr. Kuchma said, in announcing the appointment over the weekend.
Mr. Kuchma dismissed Mr. Buteiko in a "routine diplomatic staff rotation," a presidential spokesman told reporters in Ukraine.
However, Ukrainian sources have told Embassy Row the real reason for the dismissal was the Mr. Kuchma was upset by the low level of absentee votes he received in the November election from Ukrainians in the United States.
They said Mr. Kuchma held his diplomats here responsible for failing to rally support for his re-election.

'Old ad man'

The former ambassador from Latvia just can't get over his old habits as a public relations man.
Ojars Kalnins, now promoting Latvian culture as director of the Latvian Institute, sent Embassy Row an e-mail yesterday to herald the appointment of a new ambassador to the United States.
Aivis Ronis, 32, was named Monday to take up the Washington assignment, as Latvia's second ambassador since the country regained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"He's a homegrown professional diplomat who began his career with the re-establishment of Latvia's independence in 1991. He represents a new generation in a new century from a new Latvia," Mr. Kalnins wrote. "The old ad man in me always wants to kick in."
Mr. Kalnins, born of Latvian parents in a German refugee camp after World War II, was raised in the United States and worked as an advertising executive in Chicago before taking up the Latvian cause full time. He served as ambassador from 1991 to 1999.
He said the new ambassador is an 8-year veteran of the Latvian Foreign Ministry and also served as ambassador to Turkey.
"Aivis is a great guy energetic, knowledgeable, experienced in policy issues and has visited Washington on numerous occasions to participate in bilateral talks," Mr. Kalnins said.
He wrote his e-mail, looking out his office window, "watching the snow swirl around the steeple of the Dom Cathedral in the heart of Riga's Old Town."

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