- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2002

China cracks huge human-smuggling gang

BEIJING China has arrested its biggest gang of human smugglers in 50 years, believed to have smuggled more than 700 illegal immigrants into Japan, state media said, quoting prosecutors in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

Police there arrested 42 members of the gang, including ringleader suspect Chen Wenshu and other major conspirators, the China Daily said. Further investigations are continuing, and no trial date had been set.

Initial investigations indicate the gang smuggled 730 illegal immigrants into Japan from seaports in the coastal provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Liaoning and the municipalities of Shanghai and Tianjin .

North Korea frosty at parley with Japan

TOKYO North Korea's rigid stance during recent normalization talks with Japan raised doubts about the sincerity it showed at a summit a month ago, Japanese media editorialized yesterday.

"This marks the first real negotiations since Prime Minister [Junichiro] Koizumi visited North Korea, and there was plenty to indicate that choppy waters lie ahead," the Asahi Shimbun said. "North Korea's response raises doubts about how serious it is about carrying out the content of the Pyongyang Declaration."

Two days of working-level talks between the two countries ended in discord in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday as Pyongyang rebuffed Tokyo's requests for information about its nuclear weapons and about the families of Japanese citizens kidnapped to the North.

Malaysia's Chinese back math in English

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Chinese parties in the ruling coalition have agreed to teach math and science in English in secondary schools after initial protests, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.

In what he described as "the best compromise" after three months of heated debate, Chinese-language primary schools will teach the two subjects "both in English and [Mandarin], but when the students enter secondary schools, it will all be taught in English," Mr. Mahathir told reporters after a Supreme Council meeting.

Weekly notes

China is preparing to expel Yang Bin, 39, the Chinese-born Dutch tycoon who was arrested in northeast China on charges of business irregularities following his nomination as governor of a North Korean special economic zone, a report said yesterday. China officially informed North Korea of the decision last week, said the Chosun Ilbo, the largest-circulation newspaper in South Korea. "The Chinese notice implies that it would be impossible for Yang Bin to head the North Korean special economic zone of Sinuiju," an unnamed official was quoted as saying. Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk marked his 80th birthday yesterday. Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first to offer the aging monarch his best wishes and thanked Sihanouk for his wisdom and experience that has helped lead Cambodia out of its tragic past. "Vivid pages of modern history of Cambodia are linked inseparably with your name," Mr. Putin said.

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