- The Washington Times - Friday, February 24, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Japan Times

After Kofi Annan

TOKYO — The race to succeed Kofi Annan as the next U.N. secretary-general has begun. The job is one of the most high-profile in the world, and one of the most thankless. For all its prestige, the United Nations is a dumping ground for many of the world’s most intractable concerns. The secretary-general must have a thick skin to deal with the constant criticism, to serve an unruly mix of masters — the member states to whom he … answers — and to manage a massive sprawling organization. It is a wonder anyone is willing to take up the assignment.

It is not clear what the job qualifications are. There is an informal rule that no P-5 citizen [editor’s note: no citizen of the five permanent members of the Security Council] will serve as secretary-general. If tradition is any indication, the next secretary-general should come from Asia, as the job has rotated among the various regions. Yet there have been three secretary-generals from Western Europe, two from Africa, one from Latin America, one from Asia, and none from Eastern Europe.

Still, the consensus view among African and Asian nations, which make up one third of the world’s population and comprise more than one-half of the United Nations’ members, is that it is their turn.

Any secretary-general walks a fine line. The individual must have the ambition to want to solve the world’s problems — and believe that they can be solved. He must answer to governments that often see the secretary-general as an obstacle to work around rather than work with. In short, the ideal candidate will possess a powerful idealism that will be balanced by a keen eye for managerial detail. A strong ego must be checked by infinite patience and an appetite for frustration. We wish the candidates — and the eventual winner — good luck.

People’s Daily

Sanction can backfire

BEIJING — Palestinian National Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has appointed Hamas leader Ismail Haneya as the Palestinian prime minister responsible for forming the new government. Earlier, the Hamas-led Palestinian Legislative Council was sworn in.

Palestinian-Israeli relations have aroused new concerns since Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, won a landslide victory in Palestinian legislative elections. Being both religious and political, Hamas has been insisting on its radical stance and calling for Israel’s destruction. After the initial shock of Hamas’ political victory, Israel hastily settled on a “three nots” position. … Hamas is not a peace negotiation partner; Israel will not recognize a Palestinian government formed by or participated in by Hamas; and it will not contact Hamas directly. Then, Israel set three conditions for talking with PNA: Palestinian militant groups including Hamas must renounce force, recognize Israel and accept previous agreements signed between Israel and Palestine.

… Now, with changed political status, Hamas as the “bread-earner” of the country has to seek a way to finally lift its people out of suffering. So, it is only a question of time that Hamas adjusts stance and strategy, but it may not be so easy for it to openly give up its goal of “Israel’s destruction” goal in the short term.

Korea Times

Claims to Dokdo-Takeshima

SEOUL — Relations between Seoul and Tokyo are faced with another serious challenge because Shimane prefecture in Japan is pressing claim to Dokdo, South Korea’s easternmost islets [called Takeshima by Japanese claimants], timed with Takeshima Day, Feb. 22, which it designated a year ago. …

Even though Tokyo is keeping a low profile, it is generally accepted here that the Japanese government supports the prefectural administration’s claim to Dokdo behind the scenes. Tokyo’s disregard of Seoul’s sovereign right to Dokdo demonstrates the lack of action to show repentance for the crimes that old imperial Japan did to the Korean people during its 36-year colonization of the peninsula.

… Tokyo ought to persuade Shimane prefecture to scrap Takeshima Day [and recognize] Seoul’s territorial right to Dokdo.

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