- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2004

JAPAN

Chinese nuclear sub prompts protest

TOKYO — Japan lodged a formal protest with Beijing yesterday after determining that a nuclear submarine that entered its territorial waters without identifying itself belonged to China.

Japan’s navy had been on alert since Wednesday, when the submarine was first spotted off the nation’s southern island of Okinawa. Tokyo sent reconnaissance aircraft and naval destroyers to shadow the submarine, which spent about two hours inside Japanese waters before heading north.

Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura summoned Chinese envoy Cheng Yonghua to formally protest the incursion and demand an explanation, a ministry spokesman said on the condition of anonymity.

THAILAND

Man killed, 7 hurt in blast in south

BANGKOK — A 60-year-old Buddhist man was killed and seven persons injured today in a blast at a market, the fourth in less than 24 hours in Thailand’s violence-racked Muslim-majority south, police said.

Sompong Nookhao, a food seller at the market, was killed, and three of the injured were in a critical condition from the blast during a busy early-morning shopping period in the Than To district of Yala province, police said.

The scene of the blast was cordoned off as forensic teams were brought in to investigate, according to police.

At least 16 persons were injured yesterday evening in the first of three apparently coordinated bomb attacks in the neighboring province of Narathiwat.

PAKISTAN

Operation launched against militants

PESHAWAR — Some 2,000 soldiers, backed by artillery and helicopter gunships, fanned out across Pakistan’s tense tribal region yesterday, searching for foreign militants and a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, a senior military commander said.

Soldiers were looking for Pakistani militant leader Abdullah Mehsud and allied “foreign miscreants,” he said.

Mehsud is accused of organizing last month’s kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in South Waziristan, where they were building a dam. One of the Chinese men was killed and the other was rescued by commandos.

UKRAINE

Putin in Kiev, meets prime minister

KIEV — Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich met yesterday with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin, just over a week before the former Soviet republic’s second round of presidential elections, in which the Russian leader has openly backed Mr. Yanukovich’s bid.

In a highly symbolic move during an election in which Mr. Yanukovich has stressed relations with Moscow and his opponent urged closer ties with Europe, the prime minister and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma skipped a planned meeting with Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz.

IRAN

U.N. report held up as nuke talks stall

VIENNA, Austria — The U.N. nuclear watchdog has held up a new report on inspections in Iran while Tehran and the EU’s “Big Three” try to break a deadlock in talks aimed at freezing Iran’s uranium-enrichment program, diplomats said yesterday.

France, Britain and Germany had urged Iran to announce the suspension by Thursday for it to be included in the new report. However, no announcement was made, and it was not clear if Iran was ready to halt its enrichment program, which could be used to make fissile uranium for atomic weapons.

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