Wed, Jul 01, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Ban Ki-moon in Japan ahead of visit to Myanmar

AP , TOKYO

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is going to Myanmar on a diplomatic bid to win the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, is stopping by Japan for talks on Myanmar, North Korea and other global issues.

Ban, who was scheduled to arrive yesterday for a three-day visit, will meet Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone to discuss Suu Kyi’s trial and North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, the Foreign Ministry said.

They also may discuss political turmoil in Iran where protesters continue to take to the streets after the June 12 presidential vote.

Ban was scheduled for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso today.

MYANMAR

Ban will then travel to Myanmar for a two-day visit starting on Friday, UN officials said. Ban is set to arrive in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, the same day Suu Kyi’s trial resumes and is hoping to meet her, they said.

The 64-year-old Nobel Peace laureate is in Myanmar’s notorious Insein prison and being tried on charges of violating the terms of her house arrest after an uninvited US man swam to her closely guarded lakeside home last month and stayed two days.

IRAN

Ban’s talks in Tokyo are also expected to center on Iran, where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner but opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has claimed fraud, calling for a new election.

Ban has urged Iranian leaders to heed “the genuine will of Iranian people,” but has not said what the UN might do.

NORTH KOREA

On North Korea, the UN chief and the foreign minister are expected to urge the regime to give up its nuclear program and return to international disarmament talks.

Ban’s three-day visit to Japan comes amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula following Pyongyang’s second nuclear test on May 25 in defiance of a UN ban.

The UN punished the communist regime over the atomic test by expanding an arms embargo and authorizing ship searches on the high seas in a bid to derail its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea lashed out at the UN sanctions, saying it would bolster its nuclear arsenal and threatened war.

Pyongyang is also reportedly preparing for a third nuclear test and more long-range missile launches.

Ban, who served as South Korean foreign minister from 2004 through 2006, is scheduled for talks with Aso today after meeting Japanese business leaders. He will leave for Singapore tomorrow.

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