- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2007

SOUTH KOREA

Japan urged to own up to wartime past

SEOUL — South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun urged Japan yesterday not to gloss over its wartime past and to act to settle disputes, saying his country wants to become friends.

“We want to become good neighbors to each other,” Mr. Roh said in a speech marking the 88th anniversary of a thwarted uprising against Japanese colonial rule. Economic and cultural links have become strong, Mr. Roh added, and the two nations should contribute jointly to peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia.

Japan “should have an attitude of respecting truth in history and translate it into reality,” he said. Japan “should stop justifying its wrongful past and take actions sincerely, in accordance with its conscience and internationally accepted principles.”

CHINA

Farmer critically ill with bird flu virus

BEIJING — A Chinese farmer is critically ill with the human form of bird flu, state press and broadcast outlets reported yesterday as Burma confirmed the virus in its poultry flocks, underlining the enduring nature of the threat.

In a separate development, Indonesia — which has the world’s highest death toll from the human form of avian influenza — said it is close to resolving a dispute with the World Health Organization that had led it to stop sending samples abroad for testing.

Authorities in Japan, meanwhile, declared an end to outbreaks there, breathing a sigh of relief after sweeping measures that included slaughtering tens of thousands of chickens.

VATICAN CITY

Catholic Church seeks relations with Hanoi

VATICAN CITY — A Vatican delegation will meet with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi next week as the Holy See strives for diplomatic relations with the communist-run country, Vatican officials announced yesterday.

Monsignor Pietro Parolin, an undersecretary of state, will lead the delegation, which leaves Sunday. The visit is part of periodic talks between both sides, but this appointment follows by a few weeks a Jan. 25 meeting at the Vatican between Pope Benedict XVI and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

Relations between the Vietnamese government and the Roman Catholic Church have been tense for decades, particularly over Hanoi’s insistence on final say in most church appointments.

After the January talks, the Vatican noted “concrete progress” toward religious freedom in Vietnam.

Weekly notes …

Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to hold their first talks this weekend on an unprecedented charter that would transform the group along the lines of the European Union, Cambodian officials said yesterday. A task force has been charged with putting together a final charter, said Kao Kim Hourn, a secretary of state with Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry. … Japan’s development agency plans to carry out $3 million worth of social and economic projects in conflict areas of the southern Philippines in the next two years, an embassy official in Manila said yesterday. The aid is intended to help Muslim rebels sign a peace accord with the government, said Taeko Takahashi of the Japanese Embassy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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