- The Washington Times - Friday, March 1, 2002

Saleswomen protest Chinese competition

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia Large protests in the Russian Far East peninsula of Kamchatka have forced Chinese traders to close shop, the first such backlash in the region against commercial expansion from China.

Last week, hundreds of Russian women who work as stall holders in the regional capital, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, blocked the peninsula's main highway to demand the expulsion of their Chinese competitors.

Since then, 16 Chinese traders who arrived together early last month and began selling jackets, trousers, shirts and shoes at the town's main clothes market have stayed away from their stalls.

Politicians already are capitalizing on the issue to boost their voter appeal. Kamchatka Gov. Mikhail Mashkovtsev appeared to condone the protests, accusing the Chinese of trying to "take over control of the markets and then put prices back up to a convenient level."

Jiang says goodbyes to leaders in Hanoi

HANOI China's president, Jiang Zemin, wound up the serious part of a farewell visit to neighboring Vietnam yesterday with vows to continue to work on improving ties, but leaving key disputes between the communist states unresolved.

After talks with Vietnamese leaders on Wednesday and yesterday in Hanoi, Mr. Jiang was bid an official farewell at the presidential palace and headed south to sightsee in central Vietnam.

Diplomats said the visit, Mr. Jiang's first to Vietnam since 1994 and his last before he steps down as Communist Party leader this year, would help build confidence in the Vietnamese leadership and to bolster its position.

Vietnam's state media said that in Mr. Jiang's talks with Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh and President Tran Duc Luong on Wednesday, both sides promised to resolve territorial disputes peacefully and in a mutually acceptable way.

Malaysia rounds up 3,705 illegal aliens

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Police announced yesterday they had rounded up 3,705 persons, mostly from neighboring Indonesia and the Philippines, in a campaign to expel illegal immigrants.

The arrests were made in Sabah state on Borneo, the giant forested island Indonesia shares with Malaysia and Brunei, and are part of a nationwide sweep that coincided with a people-smuggling conference that opened Wednesday in Indonesia.

More than 700 squatter homes were demolished in the operation, which also was aimed at unearthing suspected Islamic militants hiding in northern Borneo, police said.

Weekly notes

South Korean President Kim Dae-jung said yesterday South Korea must patiently pursue its "sunshine policy" of engaging recalcitrant North Korea. "There is no other alternative," Mr. Kim said at a commissioning ceremony for new ROTC officers. … Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa secured a second five-year term in office yesterday after nominations for the post closed with him as the only candidate. The absence of even a symbolic contest for Hong Kong's top post provoked protests by pro-democracy campaigners, who denounced the electoral process as a charade. … Food aid to famine-hit North Korea could run out by summer as donations have been reduced by a number of factors, including the international preoccupation with Afghanistan, the U.N.'s World Food Program (WFP) announced yesterday. Gerald Bourke, a WFP spokesman in Beijing, said the agency has received pledges for only 25 percent of what it requested half the usual ratio by the end of February.

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