- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2005

SOUTH KOREA

China’s help sought on N. Korea nukes

SEOUL — Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, frustrated over the stalled six-way talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, said yesterday that he was looking to China to help revive the negotiations.

“The prospects for resuming six-way talks are not that bright,” Mr. Ban said at Inchon airport before leaving for Japan to attend an Asia-Europe meeting of foreign ministers. “I will call on China to play a more active role [in getting North Korea back to stalled nuclear talks] and also have in-depth talks with Japan to maintain cooperation.”

Mr. Ban was to hold bilateral and trilateral meetings with his Chinese and Japanese counterparts today and tomorrow on the sidelines of the forum. China, an ally and aid donor to North Korea, hosts the multilateral nuclear disarmament talks.

INDONESIA

Polio outbreak first in decade

JAKARTA — Populous Indonesia struggled yesterday to contain its first polio outbreak in a decade, diagnosing three more infants struck by the crippling virus in the province of West Java, bringing the total to five in a month.

The babies, from four neighboring villages, suffered paralysis — a symptom of the virus that mainly strikes children younger than 5 and can cause irreversible paralysis, deformation and sometimes death.

The four cases are in addition to that of an 18-month-old from a village near Sukabumi, about 60 miles south of Jakarta, who was diagnosed with the virus last month, Indonesia’s first reported polio case since 1995.

Weekly notes

Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai said at a press conference in Australia’s capital, Canberra, that he plans to be the most senior Vietnamese leader to visit the United States since the end of the war in 1975. Ties have been improving since a visit to Vietnam in 2000 by President Clinton. Bilateral trade last year was $7 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2001. Vietnam seeks membership to the World Trade Organization, for which U.S. support is needed. … Taiwanese leader Chen Shui-bian left Fiji yesterday after an unscheduled overnight stay that included unofficial talks with members of the Fijian government, which does not officially recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan). Internet news service Fijilive reported that China’s ambassador to Fiji, Gai Jian Bau, strongly protested Mr. Chen’s meeting with Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, which Fijian officials stressed was “informal.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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