- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2006

CHINA

Hu wants Bush to rein in Taiwan

BEIJING — Chinese President Hu Jintao flies to Washington this month amid quarrels over trade, but for him the visit’s success may hang on securing agreement from President Bush regarding Taiwan.

While the United States will ask Beijing for steps to help narrow the $202 billion trade gap, Mr. Hu will seek backing on the Republic of China (Taiwan), the self-governed island of 23 million that China claims as its own and says must accept unification, officials and analysts told Reuters news agency.

They said Mr. Hu hopes Mr. Bush will offer public comments, and private reassurances, discouraging Taiwanese leader Chen Shui-bian from any pro-independence moves as he serves out his second and final term, which ends in 2008.

JAPAN

North Korean to join talks on nuclear issue

TOKYO — The government approved yesterday a rare visit by a senior North Korean official, bringing together chief negotiators from all six nations in the stalled talks on ending Pyongyang’s nuclear efforts. Kim Gye-gwan and his counterparts from the five other countries will be in Tokyo for a private security forum next week and are expected to meet one another on the sidelines.

“Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan has completed procedures and obtained permission to enter” Japan with several other North Korean officials to attend the conference, said Yoshinori Katori, press secretary of the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Japan and North Korea have no diplomatic relations, and visits to each other’s capital are rare.

The forum, organized by the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, brings together government officials and academics from China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

VIETNAM

Hanoi angry at bribes using donations

HANOI — The Vietnamese government is determined to deal strictly with bribery cases involving official aid extended from abroad, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

Those involved in such cases will be punished harshly according to the nation’s law, he said, adding that the government has begun to check management of official development assistance. With donor nations, Vietnam ntends to explore how best to manage such funds, the spokesman said.

On Tuesday, Transport and Communications Minister Dao Dinh Binh offered to resign over a multimillion-dollar gambling and bribery scandal. In January, the chief of the ministry’s agency in charge of building roads and bridges was arrested. He admitted to bribery and gambling several million dollars on soccer games.

Weekly notes

The U.N. World Food Program is seeking $27 million for a program to feed more than 2 million people on Mindanao in support of the Philippine government’s efforts to assist people after a long conflict with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, officials from the United Nations announced yesterday. Carried out in cooperation with the government in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao and nearby provinces, the one-year operation is to provide food aid to displaced families, former combatants, and poor women and children. … A group of Indonesian importers called on its members yesterday to immediately start a boycott of Australian products to express anger over Canberra’s grant of temporary visas to 42 asylum seekers from Indonesia’s Papua province. “We also asked all port workers across Indonesia to refuse to unload goods from Australia-flagged ships,” said Amirudin Saud, chairman of the Association of All Indonesian National Importers. Last week, Indonesia downgraded its diplomatic ties with Australia over the latter’s grant of three-year protection visas to the Papuans, who landed at Cape York by boat in January.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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