- The Washington Times - Friday, December 7, 2001

KEDO chief expects U.S.-Pyongyang talks

SEOUL Stalled American and South Korean diplomacy with North Korea is likely to resume despite tough rhetoric, says the former U.S. diplomat who heads the agency implementing a nuclear pact with the North.

Charles Kartman, executive director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), said yesterday that bellicose words from Pyongyang and stiff warnings from Washington were "possibly preparation for something a little more serious in diplomacy."

"All of the parties do want to make progress, but in the minuet that goes into the preparation for negotiations, you want to lay down the hardest possible position," he told Reuters following a KEDO visit to North Korea.

Mr. Kartman, who was a leading North Korea expert in the Clinton administration before taking the top KEDO post, said he believes the United States and North Korea will resume talks despite limited contacts since President Bush took office.

Foreign observers praise Solomons vote

HONIARA, Solomon Islands Deposed Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa'alu and a Japanese businessman who received death threats won seats in parliament in this week's election.

Independent monitors yesterday praised the conduct of the general election Wednesday aimed at restoring democracy. Balloting, observed by about 100 international monitors, appeared to have been peaceful, but counting for the 50 seats has been slow and the situation tense. Some results had been announced yesterday, but the rest are expected to be known tomorrow.

The South Pacific nation's civil war climaxed on June 5 last year when the Eagle Force, linked to militant migrant Malaita islanders, overthrew Mr. Ulufa'alu and installed Manasseh Sogavare.

China's jaded tigers to get Viagra boost

BEIJING Chinese zoos will give Viagra to listless and impotent South China tigers in a last-ditch effort to raise the numbers of the highly endangered species, state media reported yesterday.

A pair of male tigers showing "no sexual desire" at a zoo in China's southern province of Sichuan will be the first to receive doses of the drug to counter erectile dysfunction, Xinhua news agency said. Cage life is cited for their loss of reproductive drive.

Ten zoos in the country are home to 49 South China tigers, a rare species that experts say could become extinct because they are raised in isolation, live in artificial surroundings and have become inbred, Xinhua said.

Weekly notes

A surge in cargo robberies in Malaysia, sometimes targeting computer chips worth millions of dollars, could lead producers to relocate their plants, warned transporters and manufacturers yesterday. "Malaysia has the highest rate of incidents. You don't see this happening in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia or Vietnam," said Walter Culas, president of the Airfreight Forwarders Association of Malaysia. Indonesia will co-host with Australia an international conference to counter increased people trafficking in the region. Foreign Minister Hasan Wirayuda said yesterday it will be held on the island of Bali in late February.

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