- The Washington Times - Friday, August 31, 2001

Singapore denies spying on Australia
SINGAPORE — The Foreign Ministry said yesterday accusations by an Australian current affairs program that this city-state spied on its regional neighbor were baseless and unfounded.
"The Singapore government is surprised and disappointed that 'Lateline' on 22 and 23 August had not only repeated baseless allegations but also made further unfounded claims about the Singapore government," the ministry said.
"Lateline," on the government-funded television network Australian Broadcasting Corp., made similar accusations on Aug. 8 and 9 that were denied by Singapore.

Koizumi seeks trips to Seoul, Beijing
TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi may visit South Korea and China in early September seeking to mend frayed ties with its neighbors, Kyodo News reported yesterday.
Mr. Koizumi angered many in Asia this month — especially China and the two Koreas — by visiting Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors the military dead of Japan's war since 1868.
Taku Yamasaki, secretary-general of the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, said Japan seeks a visit to China and South Korea before Mr. Koizumi begins a one-week trip to Southeast Asian countries Sept. 16, Kyodo said.

ADB loan approved for Shaanxi projects
MANILA — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved yesterday a $250 million loan to build road projects in China's Shaanxi province to reduce poverty in the underdeveloped region, a bank statement said.
The project will include construction of a 109-mile expressway and the improvement of 375 miles of local roads, the Manila-based ADB said.
Through this project, Shaanxi will be linked to Beijing and to the eastern ports of China, expanding the market for the province's agricultural and industrial products, it said.

Weekly notes …
Taiwanese leader Chen Shui-bian urged President Bush at midweek to mediate a dialogue between the island and rival China, a presidential statement in Taipei said. Mr. Chen asked Mr. Bush to press China during his October trip for the resumption of cross-strait talks "with an insistence that no preconditions are set." … Indonesia is training more troops for deployment in Aceh, the army chief disclosed, despite government claims it favors dialogue to end the bloodshed in the oil-rich province. Gen. Endriartono Sutarto told the daily Koran Tempo that the troops are being trained on Sumatra by members of the Kopassus special forces that have led the fight against separatist rebels in Aceh. … Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is to meet with China's ambassador to Manila this week to assure Beijing her government is doing its best to win the release of a Chinese working on an irrigation project in southern Mindanao. A Muslim kidnap-for-ransom gang is holding Zhang Zongyi and a Filipino interpreter after killing two other Chinese captives during an Aug. 19 rescue attempt by the Philippines military.

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