- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2004

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Taipei Times

Lament from Erehwon

TAIPEI — In Taiwan, outbreaks have been reported in some poultry farms in the center and south of the country. This has resulted in the slaughter of around 200,000 chickens. According to test results, however, the outbreaks were not caused by the virulent H5N1 strain of avian flu. But as happened with last year’s SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] epidemic, no WHO officials have come here yet to offer assistance in epidemic prevention. Such a repeat is deplorable.

Can other countries really afford for Taiwan to become a loophole in efforts to stop the spread of bird flu?

The World Health Organization, which is responsible for ensuring humanity’s health, continues to kowtow to Chinese political pressure and reject Taiwan’s participation.

China has repeatedly lied to the world, saying that Beijing can take care of the Taiwanese people’s health needs. In reality, however, China has spread diseases to Taiwan — from the foot-and-mouth epidemic a few years ago to SARS. Those outbreaks showed the world the deficiencies of the Chinese health care system and its bureaucracy.


U.S. vetoes free trade

MELBOURNE, Australia — Any illusions that Australia’s close relationship with the United States on matters such as Iraq and the war on terrorism might translate into a warm and fuzzy deal on trade have been given short shrift by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick. As if there was ever any doubt about this, the chief U.S. negotiator spelt it out clearly last week on local radio in Fargo, North Dakota, deep in the heart of sugar beet country. He declared that sugar was not going to be part of free-trade negotiations and that the United States had no intention of allowing more Australian sugar into the U.S. market. …

Free trade from a U.S. perspective, it appears, is still not the same free trade that successive Australian governments have pursued in a bipartisan fashion for the past two decades. In negotiations for a free-trade agreement with the United States, Australian negotiators have focused on commodities. Not surprisingly, farmers producing products such as lamb and sugar that could compete in an open U.S. market are angered at the continuing restrictions to which Mr. Zoellick has pointed. There are other sticking points. Under threat, if the U.S. view of free trade prevails, will be the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Australian content in local television and film production will also be at risk if U.S. demands for a lifting of restrictions are acceded to.

Free trade with the United States needs to be just that. … From an Australian perspective, no free-trade deal with the United States is better than a bad trade deal.

Egyptian Gazette

The U.N. role in Iraq

CAIRO — Contrary to American expectations, an upsurge in anti-U.S. attacks has not receded. Almost no day passes without fatal hits, a matter that leaves no room for doubt that the now-captured Saddam Hussein was not behind the assaults.

As this mounts, the United Nations is likely to come under increasing American pressure to take on a higher profile in Iraq. Washington, backed by the U.S.-installed Iraqi Governing Council, last week urged U.N. chief Kofi Annan to OK the return of his personnel to the country… .In an apparent bid to woo the United Nations, President Bush sang the praises of the international organization in last week’s State of the Union address. Washington wants the United Nations to step in, the sooner the better, to dissuade the Shi’ites from their defiant line.

The Shi’ites have signaled their readiness to accept any ruling from the United Nations on how realistic their demand for direct elections is.

Mr. Annan may find it difficult, if not inconsistent, to say the country is still unstable and at the same time rush his personnel back to Iraq with no clear-cut formula on a substantial role and how to handle security risks.

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