- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 9, 2004

VIETNAM

China, Philippines criticized on Spratlys

HANOI — Vietnam yesterday criticized plans by China and the Philippines to map potential oil deposits around the Spratly Islands, and reaffirmed its claim of sovereignty over the disputed South China Sea archipelago.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung accused Beijing and Manila of deviating from a November 2002 agreement signed by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to avoid any actions that might heighten tensions there.

“We are very concerned at the information from the signing in Beijing on September 1, 2004, between China and the Philippines without any consultation with the other parties involved,” Mr. Le told reporters. “Vietnam has asked China and the Philippines to provide information on this agreement.”

China and the Philippines last week announced a three-year project by their state oil companies to gather data on petroleum resources around the Spratlys. Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all claim sovereignty over all or part of the chain of islets and reefs

CHINA

New rules apply to state, party posts

BEIJING — Senior Communist Party and government posts will be filled in the future through open competition rather than by appointment, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday, a day after publishing six regulations adopted by the Politburo in March.

The new rules say staff of state and private businesses, government institutions and social organizations, as well as returned overseas students, will be eligible to compete for senior party and government posts, previously filled by appointment.

City and county leaders will be elected by secret ballot, but only local party committees will vote, and only after a higher body has nominated the candidates.

Weekly notes

An 18-year-old man from the central Prachin Buri province has died from the H5N1 bird flu, becoming Thailand’s first fatality from the virus since it resurfaced in July, a Health Ministry spokeswoman said yesterday. Nitaya Chanruang Mahabhol said the man fell ill Aug. 3 and died Wednesday; a laboratory test confirmed he was infected with the H5N1 strain. … Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan is to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in November on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in Santiago, Chile, government sources said yesterday. They said the two countries plan talks between the two leaders in the Chilean capital ahead of a February visit by Mr. Putin to Japan.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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