- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 12, 2004

SOUTH KOREA

Seoul to build Aegis destroyer

SEOUL — South Korea will begin constructing its first Aegis-equipped 7,000-ton destroyer next month, navy authorities said.

South Korea plans to build three destroyers equipped with the Aegis air defense system by 2012 as part of a multibillion-dollar project to build up its forces. The first $820 million vessel will be launched in 2008.

Navy officials said the first ship would be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, with U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin to provide an integrated weapons system.

The 166-meter destroyer will be equipped with anti-air and anti-ship missiles and two helicopters, they said.

South Korea, which has three 3,000-ton and three 4,000-ton destroyers, is still technically at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice.

NORTH KOREA

Army deserter saw other U.S. soldiers

TOKYO — A U.S. Army deserter to North Korea who is now in Tokyo told Japanese officials of three other American soldiers living in Pyongyang, the capital, but denied inciting them to desert, a news report said.

Charles Jenkins, who is undergoing medical treatment in Japan, said two of the former U.S. soldiers living near him in the Stalinist state had died, the Sankei Shimbun daily reported, citing government sources.

“I didn’t tempt them to desert,” the paper cited the 64-year-old as saying, according to the officials.

Washington says Mr. Jenkins defected to North Korea in 1965 while serving with in South Korea, but his family insists he was kidnapped one night while on patrol and subsequently brainwashed.

THAILAND

Uprising suspect arrested in Malaysia

BANGKOK — One of the men most wanted over a failed separatist uprising in southern Thailand in April that left 113 persons dead has been arrested by Malaysian officials, a Thai security source said.

Poh Su Ismail, high on a list of about 30 suspects compiled by the Thais, was arrested in the northern Malaysian state of Kelantan that borders Thailand’s revolt-racked, Muslim-majority south.

He reportedly was the author of a booklet demanding a separate Islamic state in the south and claiming that mystical powers would protect insurgents from Thai forces.

The booklet was found on the bodies of about of the 108 militants killed on April 28,on the worst day of separatist fighting that has left hundreds dead this year.

PHILIPPINES

Arroyo tells men not to kiss her

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo warned Philippine men not to kiss her as a form of greeting, stressing she is averse to receiving social kisses from men she does not know.

“Please, all the men in the country, so that I would not be rude to you, do not make ‘beso-beso’ with me,” she said, amid cheering from the crowd, even though she spoke with unmasked irritation.

“Beso-beso” — or kiss, kiss — is a Filipino practice that refers to busing on the cheeks as a form of greeting.

Mrs. Arroyo made the comments during a town meeting in Santa Rosa, 43 kilometers south of Manila. It marked the first time president had articulated her opposition to being kissed on the cheeks by men.

“Well, you know, first, it’s a matter of respect. Secondly, I’m conservative. I don’t want to be kissed by other men other than my husband,” she said.

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