- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 23, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Yomiuri Shimbun

Pyongyang's other WMDs

TOKYO Besides the nuclear-arms program, the issue of North Korea's development of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction has emerged.

A South Korean defense white paper pointed out that North Korea has eight chemical weapons plants and possesses 2,500 to 5,000 tons of such weapons, and is also capable of producing biological weapons.

The Japanese government has to include not only the nuclear-weapons program, but also the chemical and biological weapons program on the agenda of Japan-North Korea normalization talks and bilateral security talks, and strongly urge Pyongyang to abandon such programs.

The government needs to form a clear view of how Pyongyang will act regarding how to proceed with normalization talks. While North Korea has indicated its intention of linking the nuclear-arms issue to that of the Japanese abducted by the North and their families, the government should be steadfast, rather than hasty, in dealing with these matters.

La Stampa

Environmental disaster

TURIN, Italy The oil spill from the tanker Prestige, which sank in the Atlantic Ocean off the Spanish coast on Tuesday, represents the inability or inadequacy of the world's most advanced nations to prevent environmental disasters.

We know that similar incidents have occurred in the past and are bound to be repeated in the future because the transport of enormous quantities of oil from one part of the world to another cannot stop it means survival for our energy-starved civilization.

The dependence of the West on oil imports mainly from the Middle East postpones from year to year the implementation of concrete measures to reduce environmental damage related to obtaining energy from oil caused by the emission of harmful gases from cars and industries.

Vested economic interests linked to oil have caused the failure of environmental conferences from Rio de Janeiro to Johannesburg. More specifically, those same interests prevented European Union leaders at their 2000 summit in Nice, France, to introduce controls on oil tankers like the Prestige, which continue to evade EU safety rules.


NATO irrelevance

STOCKHOLM The gap between the United States and Europe grows every day. That's true not only when it comes to the military capability, where Europe increasingly resembles a flyweight. It's also true for the view on when military force should be used. The result has been that the United States is losing interest in Europe and NATO.

Europe and the United States need each other. For the superpower, the European partnership within NATO offers, not least, political legitimacy. But if NATO also is to be a military power to be reckoned with, the alliance must show that it has the capability to meet the threats of the new era.

It's time for NATO to step up to the plate. If Europe accepts the challenge, the NATO of the future can develop into an alliance in which "coalitions of the willing" shoulder the military missions. Such a NATO would definitely have an important role to play.

Straits Times

China's new leader

SINGAPORE The smooth leadership change in Beijing last week will bolster China's political stability. The orderly and peaceful transfer of power, unprecedented in the 81-year history of the Chinese Communist Party, marks a new phase in China's politics as its younger leaders grapple with the problems of modernization.

General Secretary Hu Jintao, 59, takes over the helm in far less turbulent times than when Jiang Zemin was given the top job after the Tiananmen protests in June 1989. The speculation is that Mr. Hu will be hemmed in, with Mr. Jiang pulling the strings.

China's new leaders are pragmatic modernists who have reoriented the party's founding principles to embrace the nascent entrepreneurial class. In this environment, the gradual liberalization of the Chinese economy in line with Deng Xiaoping's open-door policy is likely to continue.

As the party reinvents itself to stay relevant, China's fourth generation of leaders will work on Mr. Jiang's legacy to push forward with economic development, maintain stable relations with the United States and enhance China's role in world affairs.

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