- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

CHINA
Open-arms policyurged for Taiwanese
BEIJING China's top policy-maker on Taiwanese issues urged his countrymen this week to put out the welcome mat for investors, students and tourists from Taiwan.
The call by Vice Premier Qian Qichen came a year after he signaled a softer Beijing line toward the nearby self-ruled island of 23 million and invited to the mainland members of the Democratic Progressive Party of Chen Shui-bian, president of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Xinhua news agency said Mr. Qian told a three-day meeting of policy-makers in Beijing they should make it convenient for the Taiwanese to invest, trade, study, travel and visit friends and relatives in China. He also urged airports, train stations, hotels, shops and restaurants to give Taiwanese visitors "warm and attentive service."
"We should not let political differences affect or hinder cross-strait economic cooperation," Mr. Qian said. Taiwanese businessmen have poured up to $100 billion into China, lured by a vast market, cheap land and labor and a common language and culture. But the investors have no legal protection because the two governments do not recognize each other.

VIETNAM
Wartime ordnancekills 3 children, villager
HANOI Three children and a man were killed in central Vietnam in two separate incidents after accidentally detonating Vietnam War-era shells, police said yesterday.
In the Duc Pho district of Quang Ngai province, four children ages 11 to 15 were playing with an M-79 grenade they found in a rice field Monday while tending buffaloes. The three youngest were killed immediately and the fourth was hospitalized in critical condition, a local policeman said.
Elsewhere, Nguyen Thanh Son, 28, was killed and two members of his family gravely injured Tuesday when he attempted to salvage an unexploded shell for scrap metal and explosives in his garden in Quang Tri province.
Estimates from the U.S. Defense Department and the defense ministry in Hanoi suggest that 315,000 to 720,000 tons of unexploded munitions remain strewn across Vietnam. A 1998 government survey found some 38,300 people had been killed in similar accidents since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

Weekly notes
Indonesia's top security minister said yesterday he had information that political opponents were using protests against price increases in a plot to overthrow the government. "Who is behind this, we don't know," Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told reporters. He urged Indonesians to give the government credit for its decision late Wednesday to postpone increases to telephone rates and review price increases for fuel and electricity. A flesh-eating fish dubbed the "saltwater piranha" has been found in northeast Australia, sparking fears the potential man-eaters could move onto the Great Barrier Reef. Juvenile pelagic triggerfish were netted by a fisherman near Cairns, the first seen in the area, said Lyle Squire, director of fishing industry group Ecofish. The adults weigh up to 15 pounds and attack prey in schools of hundreds, he said.


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