- The Washington Times - Friday, April 26, 2002

China offers water to thirsty Taiwan

BEIJING China is willing to transport water to drought-stricken Taiwan and even may consider laying a water pipeline to islands controlled by Taiwan, a senior Chinese official said yesterday.

Water could be shipped from Fujian province to Kinmen (formerly called Quemoy), Matsu and Penghu, all Taiwanese-held islands in the Taiwan Strait separating the two sides, Xinhua News Agency quoted Chen Yunlin, director of the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, as saying.

Mr. Chen's remarks came a day after Taiwan's top policy-maker on China issues, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Tsai Ing-wen, said the island was considering importing water from the mainland.

Indonesia, U.S. air terrorism concerns

JAKARTA, Indonesia Indonesian and U.S. defense officials yesterday wrapped up security talks that covered issues including terrorism and sea piracy, a step forward in relations after military ties were slashed in 1999.

The United States imposed curbs on the Indonesian military in response to bloodshed that swept East Timor, when the former Portuguese colony voted to break from Jakarta's rule.

A joint statement mentioned no specific measures against terrorism, but the two sides agreed to explore bilateral and regional cooperation to combat piracy.

Seoul asks Manila to protect Koreans

MANILA South Korea asked the Philippine government yesterday to safeguard South Koreans living in the Southeast Asian archipelago, who often are targeted by kidnapping gangs.

Manila-based businessman Yoon Jae-kun, 43, was abducted on the southern island of Mindanao in February by the Pentagon gang, a group of rogue Muslim-separatist guerrillas.

The envoy also told President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of President Kim Dae-jung's appreciation for Manila's help in providing transit to two sets of North Korean defectors on their way to South Korea over the past year, the presidential palace said.

British ex-colonies begin Asia exercises

SINGAPORE Australia, Britain, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore will begin nine days of air defense exercises today, the Defense Ministry announced here.

The annual April 26 to May 4 exercises of the Five Power Defense Arrangements (FPDA) will be held in Malaysian and Singaporean airspace and over the waters of the South China Sea, the ministry said.

This year's maneuvers will be coordinated from Butterworth in Malaysia's Penang state. The FPDA links the militaries of the four countries with Britain, the former colonial power in the region.

Weekly notes

Radio Tehran reported yesterday that Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi will visit Iran May 3-5 to discuss the international situation and bilateral questions. Japan is one of Iran's main trading partners, mainly as a buyer of oil. Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk, 79, has propelled one of Asia's oldest monarchies into cyberspace, setting up a Web site to post messages and details of his music and filmmaking interests. Palace officials told Reuters news agency yesterday the royal site (www.norodomsihanouk.info) is an attempt by the king to keep in touch with his subjects.

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