South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, sidestepping North Korean scepticism, told his armed forces yesterday he expects a second round of talks on the North's nuclear ambitions to be held and to produce good results. \nIn Tokyo, US envoy James Kelly said those follow-on talks to August's inconclusive first six-way meeting in Beijing could possibly be in November, although no date had been fixed. \nRoh indicated the timetable and agenda could be hardening up after intense diplomacy at the UN and elsewhere on ways to resolve the crisis over North Korea's declared nuclear weapons program -- a crisis that began a year ago this month. \n"I expect that the second round of talks will be held in due time and will produce good results," Roh told a military parade at Sungnam airbase outside Seoul. \nHe also said a decision on whether to send troops to Iraq, as Washington has asked, hinged in part on security on the divided Korean Peninsula, where 37,000 US troops help the 690,000-strong South Korean forces deter the communist North. \n"The utmost task now is to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem peacefully," Roh said after reviewing the parade from an open-top limousine. "Without unshakeable security, how can any companies in the world be expected to invest in [South] Korea?" \nNorth Korea said on Tuesday it had not promised to attend more talks with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the US. The careful wording left open the possibility Pyongyang would show up but made clear it doubted the merits. \nFurther reinforcing the view among diplomats that movement could come soon, a South Korean newspaper reported a North Korean negotiator as saying expressions of disinterest in fresh talks did not mean Pyongyang would reject them. \nSouth Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan told a briefing in Seoul the US was working hard to find ways to ease North Korea's security concerns. \n"I don't interpret any such comments [by North Korea] as meaning they will not accept a second round of talks," he said. \nIn Tokyo, Kelly, who is assistant secretary of state and Washington's pointman on North Korea, said the US and its allies were urging Pyongyang to return to the table soon. \nHe was holding talks with South Korean and Japanese officials. \nAsked if talks might be held in November, he said: "It's a possibility." \nSouth Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted Seoul's ambassador to the US, Han Seung-joo, as telling South Korean lawmakers in Washington that he hoped the next talks would take place this month or no later than next month. \nAt Sungnam airbase outside Seoul, South Korea put on a long parade to mark the 55th anniversary of the armed forces, with aerobatics displays, frogmen dangling from helicopters, armored vehicles trundling past and taekwondo-trained troops smashing tiles. \nRoh said defense spending was set to rise 8.1 percent next year, compared with 2.1 percent for the overall budget, but the amount was still insufficient. \nRoh said that, as the economy recovered from its first recession in five years, more would be invested. \nHe said the country should become self-reliant in defense within 10 years. \nNorth Korea has 1.1 million troops, many forward deployed near the Demilitarized Zone bisecting the peninsula. \nSelf-reliance would not diminish the importance of South Korea's alliance with the US but better reflect Seoul's increased international status as one of the world's strongest economies, Roh said. \nOn the US request for combat troops to help restore stability to post-war Iraq, Roh did not commit himself but reiterated the linkage with the nuclear crisis.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
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Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”