US and South Korean officials warned yesterday that next week's six-nation talks on North Korea's suspected nuclear-weapons program were unlikely to produce a fast resolution to the crisis. \nSouth Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan cautioned against high expectations for the Aug. 27 to 29 talks in Beijing where representatives from his country, the US, China, Japan and Russia will try to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions. \n"We should not expect that the issue will be resolved after one or two rounds of talks," Yoon said at a news conference. "We can see the Beijing talks as just the beginning of a long process of resolving the North Korean nuclear issue." \nUS Ambassador Thomas Hubbard also warned against hopes for a speedy resolution. \n"We don't enter into talks without some degree of hope and optimism that they will succeed," said Hubbard, who was in Hawaii for a seminar. "But I don't think that we can expect early, quick results." \nThe South Korean minister also urged North Korea "not to take any additional steps that could worsen the situation." \n"It is important that we should make sure that we keep the momentum alive for dialogue and build confidence that we can resolve the matter through dialogue ... and possibly set the date for the next round of talks," Yoon said. \nSouth Korea has already called on North Korea to refrain from raising tensions by test-launching missiles or taking steps toward building nuclear weapons. \nOn Monday, the North threatened to boycott the World University Games in the South because of anti-North Korean protests there. But Pyongyang later said it would send its team after South Korea expressed regret over the demonstrations. \nNorth Korea agreed to the US-proposed multilateral talks on condition that the US hold one-on-one talks with North Korea on the sidelines. \nHowever, yesterday North Korea rejected suggestions that it should open its nuclear facilities to early inspections. \nNorth Korea's official state-run news agency said Washington wanted to form an inspection team from the six countries taking part in the Beijing talks. \n"The Iraqi war proved that consenting to disarmament through inspection does not help prevent a war but sparks it," said the agency. "Inspection is just like a detonating fuse and a prelude to a war ... This act would be little short of opening Pandora's box." \nThe nuclear crisis flared in October when US officials said Pyongyang admitted running a clandestine nuclear weapons program using enriched uranium against a 1994 agreeement.
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”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after