China, Japan, S. Korea seek resumption of N. Korea nuclear talks

BEIJING, Oct 10: The leaders of China, Japan and South Korea on Saturday called for the quick resumption of talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear drive, with Beijing saying the door was open to making real progress.

The leaders, who pledged to deepen regional cooperation, said they would work together to ensure the success of global climate talks in Copenhagen later this year and promote the development of clean energy technologies.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak said they “remained committed” to the development of an East Asia community as a “long-term goal”.

But finding a way to bring North Korea back to stalled six-party disarmament talks was clearly the focus of the summit, and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao — who visited Pyongyang just a week ago — said the international community needed to seize the moment.

“We are faced with an opportunity, but this opportunity may slip by. The key is what we do. We need to seize the opportunity and make the most of it,” Chinese Prime Minister Wen told a joint press conference.

“On the issue of the six-party talks, the DPRK (North Korea) side showed flexibility,” he added, noting that Pyongyang “not only hopes to improve its relations with the United States, but also to improve relations with Japan and South Korea.” North Korea said on Monday during Wen’s visit to Pyongyang — the first by a Chinese prime minister in 18 years — that it was willing to return to six-party talks but only if it first was granted direct negotiations with the United States.

The US has said it would agree to bilateral talks within the framework of the six-party disarmament forum, but that the goal must be a complete end to DPRK’s nuclear weapons drive.

The six-way negotiations are hosted by China, a close ally of North Korea, and also include South Korea, the United States, Russia and Japan.

Wen, Hatoyama and Lee said they would push “with other parties for an early resumption of the six-party talks, so as to safeguard peace and stability in Northeast Asia” in a statement issued after their talks.

Both Lee and Hatoyama said they were encouraged by Chinese Premier Wen’s descriptions of DPRK’s attitude.

“Premier Wen said North Korea was willing to have talks with South Korea. I welcome this,” Lee told journalists.

Hatoyama added: “I would like to trust these words.”

Lee said he had presented what he describes as a “grand bargain” for North Korea’s nuclear disarmament — massive aid and diplomatic and security guarantees in return for a firm commitment to total denuclearisation.—AFP


China, Hong Kong confirm their second swine flu cases

BEIJING: China and Hong Kong confirmed Wednesday their second separate cases of swine flu, both in passengers who flew in from North America, and stepped up the search for those who came into contact with them.

In Beijing, authorities said a student who recently returned from Canada and then took a train to the eastern province of Shandong despite feeling feverish, had tested positive for the virus.

Officials immediately started tracking down anyone who may have had contact with the 19-year-old, even as the search continued for passengers who were on the same flight as mainland China’s first confirmed case of A (H1N1) flu.

In Hong Kong meanwhile, officials said a man aged 24 who had returned from the United States was being held in isolation in hospital.

A further six people who sat near him on his flight from San Francisco were quarantined, along with family members who met him at the airport Monday, said Thomas Tsang, controller of the Centre for Health Protection.

Another 45 people who sat near him have already left Hong Kong.

The latest case comes almost two weeks after a Mexican man with the virus landed in Hong Kong in what was Asia’s first exposure to swine flu.

China, US to promote dialogue

BEIJING, April 16: The United States and China have agreed to work together on bringing peace to Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said on Thursday following a visit to Beijing by a top US envoy.

Richard Holbrooke, US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, left China after holding talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and leading cabinet official Dai Bingguo during a two-day trip.

“We came here to share views on the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan because we share a common danger, a common challenge and a common goal,” Mr Holbrooke said in a statement before leaving Beijing.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the two sides had agreed to work together on the problem.

“The two sides said they would make efforts to enhance dialogue and cooperation and promote peace, stability and development in South Asia,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

Mr Holbrooke will next attend a donors’ conference in Tokyo, where the United States is expected to pledge increased aid to Pakistan.

Cooperation with China, which has close ties with Pakistan and borders Afghanistan, has also been seen as important to the new US plan to root out extremism in the region.—AFP

SKorea, China, Japan want strong message for North

SEOUL, South Korea – The leaders of South Korea, China and Japan agreed Saturday to send North Korea a “powerful message” over its rocket launch, an official said, but their newfound unity could result in a weaker response than the one Tokyo originally sought.

The leaders shared the view that the global community should “promptly send a powerful message to North Korea in a unified voice,” South Korean presidential spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said in a statement.

It was issued after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso met on the sidelines of a chaotic regional summit in Thailand.

Their meeting came as the U.N. Security Council appeared to be making progress in breaking a deadlock over how to respond to North Korea’s April 5 rocket launch.

The communist nation launched what it said was a satellite, though the U.S., Japan and South Korea said it was actually testing long-range missile technology, which the North is banned from doing under a 2006 Security Council resolution. North Korea says satellite launches are allowed under a U.N. space treaty.

Wen and Aso were at odds during their meeting over whether the council should adopt a resolution or a presidential statement, Kim said. China, a key ally of North Korea, had pressed for a lighter reprimand. But Tokyo, which had been pushing for a full resolution, hinted that it would instead accept a presidential statement — drafted by China in consultation with Washington — that was circulated Thursday.

“When push comes to shove, Japan will not insist on a particular format” if three requirements are met, Aso spokesman Osamu Sakashita said. He said the message must be “strong, unanimous and at an early date.”

Security Council resolutions are considered the strongest response the council can take. A presidential statement is considered a lesser response, though the U.S. and others believe it carries equal clout.

Wen said China “will make efforts” to ensure that the three countries respond with a unified voice soon through the U.N., the spokeswoman said.

Their unity cleared the hurdle in the Security Council as its five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S. — and Japan prepare to continue their discussions Saturday in New York.

The three leaders agreed that the specific format and wording of the message should be worked out at the Security Council, Kim said.

Their 30-minute meeting took place following the abrupt cancellation of a broader gathering of regional leaders after Thai anti-government protesters stormed the venue of the East Asia Summit in the beach resort of Pattaya, 90 miles (140 kilometers) southeast of Bangkok.

Japan’s mass-circulation Yomiuri newspaper reported Saturday from New York that the statement would also contain other points, including a demand that North Korea abstain from more launches, a call for the drawing up of further economic sanctions against it and the early resumption of six-party talks aimed at the North’s denuclearization.

North Korea has warned that any move to censure it at the U.N. could prompt its withdrawal from the nuclear disarmament talks, which involve China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the U.S.

The council could adopt the statement through a vote next week if an agreement on its wording is produced Saturday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, also citing diplomatic sources.


Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations and Malcolm Foster in Pattaya contributed to this report.

Source: Yahoo News

UN adjourns talks on NKorean rocket launch with no deal

UNITED NATIONS: The Security Council Sunday adjourned three hours of closed-door talks on North Korea’s long-range rocket launch with no agreement on how to respond to what Western members called a clear violation of UN resolutions.

“Members of the Security Council agreed to continue consultations on an appropriate action by the council in accordance with its responsibilities given the urgency of the matter,” Mexico’s UN Ambassador Claude Heller, the council chair this month, told reporters after the meeting.

The United States and Japan, which called for the meeting in response to what they view as Pyongyang’s “provocative act,” said that the launch of a three-stage Taepodong-2 missile, with an estimated range of 4,100 miles (6,700 kilometers) violated Security Council resolution 1718.

That resolution, adopted in 2006 after the North’s missile launches on July 5 and nuclear test on October 9 that year, demanded that Pyongyang refrain from any further nuclear test or another ballistic missile launch.

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told reporters that additional consultations would continue both here and in capitals around the world later Sunday and in the coming days, to try to agree “a clear and strong response from the council.”

Diplomats said there was general agreement on expressing concern over the launch and calling on Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks and to respect UN resolutions.

“The fact of the launch was in itself a clear violation of (1718). The use of ballistic missile technology is a clear violation of the resolution which prohibits missile-related activities,” Rice noted.

A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Rice, backed by her British and French colleagues, pressed for a “strong condemnation” of the North Korean action during the consultations.

But Russia, China, Libya, Uganda and Vietnam called for restraint in the council’s reaction so as not to endanger the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, the diplomat added.

China, US, Japan assure support for FoP moot

WASHINGTON: The United States, China and Japan have vowed their support for next month’s Friends of Pakistan meeting in Tokyo, where major economic powers are expected to back the South Asian country’s economic development programmes.

In their separate meetings with Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani, the chief Chinese and Japanese envoys based in Washington and top US officials expressed their willingness to shore up Pakistan’s initiatives for its speedy economic progress.

The meeting, taking place on April 17 in Tokyo, would be attended by leaders and representatives from several Asian and Western industrialised and oil-rich Gulf nations.

Haqqani held meetings with the US State Department officials, Chinese ambassador to the US, Zhou Wenzhong and Japanese ambassador to US, Ichiro FUJISAKI to coordinate efforts towards a productive outcome of the conference.

In addition, the Pakistani diplomat had meetings with US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke and visiting Japanese Prime Minister’s special envoy over the last week.

The US diplomats have also been meeting separately with envoys of other countries toward the objective.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to represent Washington at the meeting, which is likely to be chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari.

The top Pakistani democratic leaders, President Zardari and Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani believe that international assistance will not only help meet economic development of people but also serve as a bulwark against violent extremism afflicting its border regions.

The economic stability of Pakistan, the frontline partner against violent extremism, is considered key to regional peace and stability.

President wants Chinese model of agriculture in Pakistan

WUHAN: President Asif Ali Zardari Saturday said that Pakistan wants to benefit from Chinese experience and technology in the field of agriculture for enhanced production that will help his country in overcoming the grain shortage.

“I am very impressed with China’s development in Agri-sector and we want to emulate the same success in Pakistan,” President Zardari said here in his address to China Hubei-Pakistan Agriculture and Water Resources Cooperation Forum.

The president said that Pakistan and China have always enjoyed cordial relations and expressed the hope that his visit will further strengthen these ties particularly in the fields of agriculture and hydro electricity sectors.

He said the prime objective of his visit, the second in four months, was to learn from Chinese model of agriculture and development of hydro electricity projects.

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China shuts chemical plant after water polluted

BEIJING: Chinese authorities closed a chemical plant being investigated for contaminating water supplies to 1.5 million people in the country’s east, state media said Saturday.

Biaoxin Chemical Company caused “massive” tap water pollution in Yancheng, a city in east Jiangsu province, forcing the closure of two out of three tap water plants, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Water supplies were restored after a five-hour shutdown Friday, Xinhua said.

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Williams sisters reach Dubai Open quarter-finals

DUBAI: The Williams sisters moved within one match of another meeting when Serena Williams produced a performance of firm commitment and heavy hitting to reach the quarter-finals of the Dubai Open here on Wednesday.

The world number one from the United States won 6-4, 6-2 against Zheng Jie, the Wimbledon semi-finalist from China – seven hours after her elder sister Venus Williams also reached the last eight.

Serena had to fight hard in the first set, capturing it thanks to one break of serve chiselled painstakingly out in a 12-point ninth game full of great ground-strokes from both players.

After closing out the set without fuss, Serena broke again at once and dominated the second set, though she was not especially satisfied with her performance.

But Serena admitted that physically she was in good shape and that there were few problems with the knee which caused her to withdraw from the semi-finals of the Paris Open last week.

She now plays Ana Ivanovic for only the second time. The French Open champion won 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) against Camille Pin of France, having been a set and a break up.

Earlier Venus Williams progressed by beating one of the most spectacularly rising players.

The Wimbledon champion produced an impressively solid performance against Alize Cornet, a 19-year-old from Nice who has risen more than 50 places in little more than a year to within sight of the top ten.

But, after an absorbing first set, Venus made light of the young threat, and imposed her forceful game upon the tactical patterns which Cornet tried to create.

She also made many more forays to the net than she used to, eventually winning by a slightly misleading scoreline of 6-3, 6-1.

She next plays Elena Dementieva, the Olympic champion from Russia.

The biggest upset of the tournament so far happened in the other half of the draw with the defeat of Jelena Jankovic, the 2008 year-end world number one, by the 16th-seeded Estonian, Kaia Kanepi.

“It was one of the worst matches of my career,” said Jankovic after her 6-2, 7-5 loss.

Kanepi served well, hit solidly off the ground, and mixed up her tactics well until the possibility of victory came close and then her standard dropped a little.

Jankovic came back from 0-4 to 5-5 in the second set, at which stage it seemed she might take it to a decider. But when serving for 6-6 she half-fell and did the splits on the second point, and lost the third to a net cord.

After that her margin for errors was small, and two mistimed ground strokes under pressure from Kanepi finished the match just when Jankovic seemed to be playing better.

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