- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 5, 2010

JAPAN

Japan protests to Beijing over East China Sea chase

TOKYO | Japan on Tuesday protested to Beijing after an inspection ship chased down a Japanese ocean surveying vessel in the East China Sea, the coast guard said.

The incident occurred Monday about 198 miles northwest of Japan’s southern Amami Oshima island, he said.

“The Chinese ship Haijian 51 approached the Japanese surveying vessel, the Shoyo, and chased it down for hours while demanding it leave Chinese waters,” said the Japanese official who asked not to be named.

“It was the first time that a Chinese ship has demanded Japan’s survey vessel stop its work in its EEZ [exclusive economic zone],” he said, adding that the Japanese ship was conducting its oceanographic survey.

“The Japanese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday lodged a protest against Beijing over the incident,” he added.

Ties between Tokyo and Beijing have been strained over territorial disputes in the East China Sea. There are four controversial Chinese gas fields in the East China Sea that Japan says extend into its own EEZ.

CHINA

U.S. urges more effort from China in Afghanistan

BEIJING | A top U.S. official Tuesday urged China to step up its contribution to the international effort in Afghanistan and assured Beijing that U.S. troop withdrawals set for next year would not be hasty.

“One of our highest strategic priorities is to help Afghanistan and Pakistan disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake told reporters.

“This is an interest that China shares, so we discussed ways China can coordinate with and contribute to international efforts in both of those countries.”

During his two-day visit, Mr. Blake said he held talks with Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue and headed the U.S. delegation in dialogue on South Asian issues.

PAKISTAN

Drones kill low-level militants, few civilians

WASHINGTON | U.S. estimates show CIA drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas over the past two years have killed more than 500 militants — the vast majority of them low-level — but fewer than 30 civilians, officials said Monday.

The number of so-called combatant and noncombatant casualties in the U.S. government tally is sharply lower than some Pakistani press accounts, which have estimated civilian deaths alone at more than 600.

Disclosing a partial tally of drone strikes since the summer of 2008, when the program was ramped up under then-President George W. Bush, could help the U.S. intelligence community counter protests from Pakistan and human rights groups about the civilian death toll.

But the numbers also show the vast majority of the 500 militants killed — more than 90 percent by some measures — are lower-level fighters, raising questions about how much the CIA knows about the targets before they are killed, experts said.

MEXICO

Emergency exits blocked in Mexican fair stampede

MONTERREY | Investigators say one emergency exit was welded shut and another was apparently blocked at a northern Mexico concert where five people died in a human stampede.

Police in Nuevo Leon state also say nobody was searching people for guns at the entrance.

Police have found two bullet casings at the scene of the Sunday stampede, and say the sound of gunshots set off a rush to the exits.

State Police Chief Adrian De La Garza said Tuesday that security video from the event shows a man dressed in black acting suspiciously. He is being sought for questioning. The event’s security chief and two organizers of the Guadalupe fair have been detained on suspicion of negligence.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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