- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2002

Vietnam at risk
The U.S. ambassador to Vietnam is warning the government in Hanoi that it is not immune from terrorist attacks, despite a recent report ranking the communist nation as one of the safest in the Asia-Pacific region.
"I think we have all been reminded many times in the last few months in Bali, in Kenya that there is no such thing as absolute security," Ambassador Raymond Burghardt told reporters in the Vietnamese capital last week.
"Terrorists systematically look for soft targets. If one place is protected, they move on to somewhere else."
The lack of a major Muslim community there is one reason Vietnam is unlikely to be a target of Islamic extremism, according to a report by Hong Kong's Political and Economic Risk Consultancy.
"Vietnam's security apparatus is so tight that it is very unlikely any foreign terrorists would consider it worthwhile even to try to cause an incident there," the firm said in a recent report.

Baker's sympathy
Howard Baker, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, has expressed sympathy to Japanese who were abducted by North Korea but has not said whether the United States will help reunite them with children they had to leave behind in the closed, Stalinist nation.
"You have not only our sympathy but the sympathy of all American people," Mr. Baker told the families of the kidnapped last week in a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
North Korea has admitted kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s to train them as spies. North Korea released the five known survivors but has refused to allow their children to leave.
Mr. Baker said he is willing to meet another kidnap victim, Hitomi Soga, who married an American accused of deserting the Army. Mrs. Soga wants the United States to pardon her husband, Charles Robert Jenkins, who remains in North Korea.

Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
President Emomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan, who addresses the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Macedonian Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva, who addresses the United States Institute of Peace about Macedonia's future. Tomorrow, she meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and officials at the National Security Council.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, chairman of Turkey's recently victorious Justice and Development Party. He addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
cEllen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of Liberia's opposition Unity Party, who joins a panel discussion about political conditions in West Africa at the United States Institute of Peace.
President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, who meets President Bush. He also addresses a luncheon meeting at the National Press Club.
Anatoly A. Efremov, governor of Russia's Arkhangelskaya region, Alexei I. Lebed, governor of the Russian Republic of Hakassiya, Sen. Ludmila Narusova of the Russian Federation Council, and Heleb Teplitskaia, president of the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce & Industry. They hold a 2 p.m. news conference at the National Press Club to discuss investing in Russia.
A German parliamentary delegation led by Gert Weisskirchen. They join a forum on combating anti-Semitism, sponsored by the congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The forum will be held in Room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Yuan Peng of China's Institute of Contemporary International Relations, who joins a forum on U.S.-China relations, sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Indian National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra.
Reza Pahlavi, son of the late deposed shah of Iran, who holds a 12:30 p.m. news conference at the National Press Club to discuss the campaign for secularism in Iran.
Colombian Foreign Minister Carolina Barco, who meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Attorney General John Ashcroft. She also addresses the Inter-American Dialogue. On Friday, she meets John Walters, director of the White House Office of Drug Control Policy.

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