- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2004


Hun Sen, Ranariddh to end broadcast war

PHNOM PENH — Prime Minister Hun Sen and royalist party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh have agreed to end vicious radio smear attacks on one another, the two said in letters this week.

The two politicians and opposition leader Sam Rainsy have been in a political standoff since July’s inconclusive national elections, and the impasse has been accompanied by a war of words over the airwaves.

Mr. Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh said in an exchange of letters obtained by Agence France-Presse that they want to end the bickering broadcasts now that their parties have negotiated a political solution to the stalemate.


China halts supply of Daqing crude oil

TOKYO — The supply of crude oil to Japan from China’s huge Daqing oil field, which started after the 1972 normalization of relations between the two countries, has been halted since January and is unlikely to resume given increasing demand for energy in China, informed sources told Kyodo News this week.

The oil field’s reduced export capacity and China’s demand for higher prices also have made it difficult to resume the sale of oil to Japan, a symbol of bilateral friendship for more than 30 years. Thus, bilateral negotiations that were to be concluded in September have been suspended with no prospect of prompt resumption.

Japanese electric-power companies are major users of Daqing crude. But because the crude can be replaced with oil from Indonesia and western Africa, an official at Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the loss of Daqing oil will “hardly affect” the company’s operations.


Bureaucrats to aid their peers in Papua

SYDNEY — Australian officials headed to Papua New Guinea yesterday on a mission to stabilize the Pacific nation’s troubled government institutions, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.

The eight officials are the first wave of a $624 million mission to send flying squads of 300 Australian police and bureaucrats to work with their Papuan counterparts in overcoming rampant lawlessness and corruption.

Mr. Downer said it was part of a more hands-on approach to solving problems in Australia’s Pacific back yard to provide better social and economic opportunities.

“It’s a more activist approach, but I think it will be successful,” he told reporters.

Weekly notes

Hua Mei, the first overseas-born giant panda to return to China, was given a hero’s welcome when her plane touched down in Beijing yesterday, Xinhua news agency reported. The chubby toddler, born in August 1999 at the San Diego Zoo, was transported to the land of her ancestors on a 10-hour flight across the Pacific, Xinhua said. She faced a day of quarantine in Beijing and a month in isolation at a southwestern nature reserve before being released into the wild. … Singapore will kill 5,000 healthy chickens nearing the end of their egg-laying lives to test the city-state’s defense system against the bird-flu epidemic, which has struck 10 of its Asian neighbors, the government says. The one-day exercise Wednesday will take place on a privately owned farm, Agri-food and Veterinary Authority chief Ngiam Tong Tau announced. In the drill, the authority will buy chickens from farmers at market prices, gas them with carbon dioxide and bury the corpses.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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