- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2006

AUSTRALIA

Aborigines want further land rights

SYDNEY — Aborigines set their sights on more big Australian cities yesterday as the government warned that a court decision giving them native title to Perth could have significant implications.

Claims already have been lodged for rights to the country’s largest city, Sydney, as well as Melbourne in the south and Brisbane on the east coast, officials said.

The surprise federal court judgment Tuesday on the western Australian capital Perth marked the first time a large metropolitan area had been ruled to belong to the indigenous people who lived there before white settlers arrived.

Prime Minister John Howard has expressed “considerable concern” at the judgment, and Attorney General Philip Ruddock told national radio the decision could have “significant implications.”

CHINA

Li meets Arias at General Assembly

BEIJING — China’s foreign minister has met the president of Costa Rica in New York, a ministry spokesman said yesterday, a sign that Beijing may be courting one of Taiwan’s most important diplomatic allies.

The number of countries having diplomatic ties to Taiwan, the self-governing island over which China claims sovereignty, has dwindled from 30 to 24 since 2000 as Beijing woos Taipei’s friends with promises of trade and aid.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias held talks on the sidelines of a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, and China said it had a “positive attitude” toward establishing formal ties with the Latin American nation.

VIETNAM

Detained U.S. citizen freed and sent home

HANOI — A Vietnamese-born U.S. citizen, who police said was detained on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the communist government and destroy the U.S. consulate, was released and deported yesterday, officials said.

State-run Vietnam Television said police had suspended the investigation against Cong Thanh Do, 47, a computer engineer from San Jose, Calif., arrested last month during a visit to Vietnam. VTV said Cong Thanh Do had printed anti-government leaflets and distributed them in several Vietnamese cities.

State-run television showed footage of Cong Thanh Do with his passport, passing through airport immigration. He has been held in Ho Chi Minh City since his arrest. He was born in Vietnam but left in 1982 to settle in the United States.

Weekly notes …

South Korea has developed and hopes to soon deploy a new cruise missile that is capable of hitting almost all of North Korea, a Defense Ministry official said in Seoul yesterday. North Korea, which has one of the biggest missile arsenals in Asia, defied international warnings and test-fired seven missiles in July, including a long-range ballistic missile that fizzled after takeoff but one day might be able to hit parts of the U.S. … The United States backed the thrust of a plan to breathe new life into stalled world trade talks yesterday, saying in Canberra, Australia, it is willing to resume negotiations if the European Union is also more flexible. “We’re willing to negotiate our way through this,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns told the Australian newspaper yesterday. “We’re willing to cut our subsidies … But the EU … cannot continue to maintain very high tariffs.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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