- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 24, 2005

JAPAN

Provisional system planned for tsunamis

TOKYO — Japan and the United States hope to start offering provisional tsunami warning information as early as March to Indian Ocean nations, where as many as 300,000 people were left dead or missing by giant waves generated by a Dec. 26 undersea earthquake.

At a disaster prevention conference in Kobe last month, Japan and the United States, both of which have decades of experience in tsunami warning systems, offered to provide information to the region on a provisional basis until a permanent system can be set up.

TAIWAN

Policy-maker backs interim China pact

TAIPEI — The Republic of China (Taiwan) and China could reduce the risk of war by signing an interim peace agreement for 20 to 30 years before reaching a final settlement, Taiwan’s top China policy-maker said yesterday.

Joseph Wu, chairman of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, told Reuters that he supports the notion of an interim pact to help reduce tension across the Taiwan Strait, regarded as among the world’s most dangerous hot spots.

Under the pact, Taiwan would promise not to push for formal nationhood if China renounced the use of force against the self-ruled island.

AUSTRALIA

Extra Iraq deployment intended to help Japan

SYDNEY — This country’s surprise decision to double its military presence in Iraq was as much about forging closer ties with Japan as helping defend Iraq, analysts said yesterday.

Prime Minister John Howard has revealed that his government rebuffed an initial request from Britain for more troops, but relented after he received a phone call from Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Analysts said the deployment of 450 Australian troops to protect Japanese engineers working on humanitarian projects in Iraq represents the largest development in the security relationship of the two countries since World War II.

Weekly notes …

Animal health specialists, at a conference on bird flu in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, yesterday criticized the underfunding of efforts to combat the deadly virus, which threatens both poultry stocks and humans. Joseph Domenech, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s director of animal health, said, “Support generated for fighting avian influenza is not enough.” He said $10 million per country is needed for surveillance, vaccination and other activities. … Police in Manila said yesterday that they thwarted attacks on an airport, malls, a church and U.S. troops in the Philippines with the arrests of three members of an al Qaeda-linked group that came to the Philippines to train Muslim militants to make bombs. The two Indonesians and a Malaysian were arrested in December.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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