- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 16, 2003

NORTH KOREA

Pyongyang threatens to display nukes

SEOUL — North Korea said yesterday it would “physically display its nuclear deterrent force,” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

The remark by an unnamed spokesman of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry could be an indication that the communist regime intends to test a nuclear bomb.

For weeks, North Korea has said that it was building up its “nuclear deterrent force,” a term the isolated, communist nation uses to refer to its nuclear weapons program. U.S. intelligence officials believe that North Korea already has one or two nuclear bombs and may be building more.

IRAN

Europeans seek last-ditch nuke deal

TEHRAN — Britain, France and Germany are exploring a last-ditch mission to Tehran to try to resolve Iran’s nuclear standoff before an Oct. 31 U.N. deadline for Tehran to prove it has no atomic-arms ambitions.

Western diplomats told Reuters yesterday that delegations from the three countries held talks in Tehran this week to pave the way for a foreign minister’s visit.

The same three countries, in a letter delivered in August, offered Iran the prospect of sharing technology if it stops its disputed nuclear fuel enrichment program and accepts tougher U.N. inspections. The letter upset fellow European Union countries that were not consulted and angered Washington.

AZERBAIJAN

Two killed in riots after presidential vote

BAKU — Riot police using tear gas and dogs clashed with thousands of opposition supporters yesterday after the son of Azerbaijan’s ailing leader, Haydar Aliyev, won a presidential election criticized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a democracy watchdog.

At least two persons were reported dead.

Within hours of Ilham Aliyev’s victory, which sealed the first dynastic succession in an ex-Soviet state, about 3,000 opposition activists surged toward a square holding government buildings, hurling stones and overturning cars.

BOLIVIA

Protests grow over gas exports

LA PAZ — Tens of thousands of Bolivians rallied yesterday in the streets of La Paz to demand President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada’s resignation. It marked one of the biggest antigovernment demonstrations amid weeks of deadly street clashes over a plan to export natural gas.

Soldiers guarded the presidential palace as columns of farmers, workers, miners and indigenous groups descended on La Paz, setting off dynamite and carrying homemade clubs. An estimated 65 people have been killed.

Critics say a proposed $5 billion pipeline to export gas to the United States and Mexico will benefit only the wealthy. They also are angered that the gas may be exported through a Pacific port in neighboring Chile, the country’s longtime rival.

CHINA

Chinese celebrate, aim for space station

BEIJING — China celebrated its first astronaut’s safe return from space yesterday by announcing ambitious new goals: another flight within two years and a space station.

The announcement came as state television repeatedly broadcast scenes of Lt. Col. Yang Liwei climbing from his Shenzhou 5 capsule and waving to cheering rescue workers after landing at dawn in China’s northern grasslands. Doctors declared Col. Yang in good shape, and mission control called his 21-hour flight a success.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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