- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2001

China's Qian plans early U.S. visit

BEIJING China's top foreign-affairs official, Qian Qichen, will travel to the United States next month in the first visit by a senior Chinese official under the George W. Bush administration, diplomats said yesterday.
The visit by Vice Prime Minister Qian, a veteran who oversees China's policies toward Taiwan, was seen as a key gesture by China in maintaining continuity in bilateral ties after Mr. Bush moved into the White House last month.
Mr. Bush is not expected to meet his Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin, until October, when China hosts an informal summit of Asia Pacific leaders in Shanghai.
Hanging over bilateral ties, however, are a host of perennially thorny issues, including Taiwan and human rights, as well as U.S. plans to build an anti-missile shield in the face of strident opposition by China, Russia and others.

Canada sets ties to North Korea

OTTAWA Canada said yesterday it has established diplomatic ties with North Korea, the isolated impoverished communist state that is slowly opening up to the outside world.
Canada becomes the fourth member of the Group of Eight powerful nations after Russia, Italy and Britain to recognize the state, which has launched a diplomatic offensive after five decades of self-imposed isolation.
Foreign Minister John Manley said that Canada believed forging closer relations with Pyongyang is the best way to contribute to security, nonproliferation and humanitarian challenges in the region.

Ethiopia, Eritrea OK buffer zone

NAIROBI, Kenya After months in a stalemate, senior Ethiopian and Eritrean officials agreed yesterday to set up a U.N.-patrolled buffer zone in an area where the two neighbors fought a border war for 2 and 1/2 years.
A 16-mile-wide temporary security zone will be established starting Feb. 12, the U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea said in a statement after the meeting in the Kenyan capital.
The plan requires the Ethiopian army to withdraw from territory inside Eritrea that it has occupied since last May, as well as the repositioning of Eritrean forces, the statement said.

Pastrana to enter rebel zone tomorrow

BOGOTA, Colombia President Andres Pastrana flies into guerrilla territory tomorrow for a summit to face a shrewd and battle-hardened guerrilla adversary.
Sitting across the table from Mr. Pastrana will be 70-year-old Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda, the chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, who has confounded Colombian generals and presidents for decades.
Mr. Pastrana, who has been criticized for making many concessions to FARC, hopes to resuscitate peace talks at the meeting and show he can stand up to the rebels.

Argentina complains over Castro remark

BUENOS AIRES The Argentine government made a formal complaint to Cuba's ambassador here yesterday after Cuban President Fidel Castro accused Argentina of "licking Yankee boots."
The Foreign Ministry complained by letter to Ambassador Alejandro Gonzalez Galiano about the controversial remarks Mr. Castro made late last week in a speech to an international economics conference in Havana.
The complaint "reflects displeasure at the insults thrown by President Castro, widely publicized in Argentine, Cuban and international media," the Foreign Ministry said.

Milosevic minister found dead in car

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia Yugoslavia's last interior minister under the rule of Slobodan Milosevic was found dead in his car yesterday evening, his successor in the post said.
The body of Zoran Sokolovic was discovered in his Lada Niva car near the town of Knjazevac, around 125 miles southeast of Belgrade, current Federal Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic told B-92 radio.
"At this moment, I do not have confirmed information about the cause of death, but there is speculation that it was suicide," Mr. Zivkovic told the radio station.

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