- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2004


Chen proposes DMZ with China

TAIPEI — Chen Shui-bian, president of the Republic of China (Taiwan), called on diplomatic rival China today to set up a demilitarized zone and exchange envoys, proposals which were likely to fall on deaf ears.

Addressing a rare press conference, Mr. Chen said troops, missiles and other weapons would be removed from the zone, but didn’t say where the zone would be.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has been angered by Mr. Chen’s plan to hold a referendum alongside presidential elections on March 20, seeing it as a step toward independence that could spark a war.


Nuke fuel exports skyrocketed in 2003

MOSCOW — Russia’s exports of nuclear fuel for use in reactors skyrocketed to $3 billion in the past year after years of stagnation, mainly owing to higher demand from the growing economies of former communist states, officials said yesterday.

An atomic energy official said increased exports of enriched uranium, as well as uranium and isotope-enrichment technology, also were behind the rise. He declined to disclose export destinations.


Last white president backs tie-up with ANC

STELLENBOSCH — Former South African President F.W. de Klerk yesterday urged his one-time apartheid party to back a coalition with the African National Congress, saying it was the only way to heal racial divisions.

Speaking on the 14th anniversary of a historic speech in which he effectively ended white rule, Mr. de Klerk said the New National Party must work with South Africa’s black leaders in the general elections this year.

On Feb. 2, 1990, Mr. de Klerk announced a sweeping repudiation of apartheid policies and lifted a 30-year ban on the ANC.


Australia gets nod for talks

KATHERINE, Australia — North Korea indicated to a visiting Australian delegation that it is prepared to resume talks on its nuclear-arms program soon, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said today.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency cited diplomats as saying Japan, South Korea and the United States were working to hold the next round of talks about Feb. 20.

In preparation for the talks, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly met yesterday with South Korean officials before leaving for Tokyo. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage also is in Japan.


Former Nazi guard found unfit for trial

DUESSELDORF — A court ruled yesterday that an 88-year-old former member of Adolf Hitler’s elite SS, who was charged with killing a Dutch prisoner during World War II, was medically unfit to stand trial.

Herbertus Bikker’s case was closed after a renewed examination by neurological experts determined he was unfit, according to the state court in the western city of Hagen.

Prosecutors accuse the Dutch-born Bikker of shooting 27-year-old resistance fighter Jan Houtman in 1944 after becoming enraged by his attempts to flee a Dutch labor camp.


World Court case on barrier opposed

BRUSSELS — The European Union has written to the World Court to express its opposition to the opening of legal action against the West Bank security barrier that Israel is building, diplomats said yesterday.

The 15-nation bloc thinks the problem needs a political, rather than legal, solution and fears the court case could harm peace efforts. The message was delivered Friday to the court by the EU president, Ireland, ahead of a court deadline for such submissions.

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