Japan said yesterday it wanted Russia to return all four Kuril islands, snubbing Moscow's renewed talk of returning two of them to end the dispute that has prevented the countries from formally ending World War II. \nPrime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said "Japan cannot be content" with the return of two of the four islands just off northern Japan, which were seized by Soviet troops in 1945. \n"We maintain the policy of concluding a peace treaty only after clarifying who owns the [all] four of the islands," Koizumi told reporters. \nThe government said Koizumi would raise the Kuril dispute with Russian President Vladimir Putin if they meet on the sidelines of a summit of the APEC forum in Chile this weekend. \nChief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said "Japan and Russia have a common policy" that they will conclude a peace treaty by resolving the status of all four islands. "We have not changed our stance of continuing strenuous negotiations in accordance with this policy," Hosoda, the top government spokesman, told a news conference. \nForeign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said it was not appropriate to react to each remark by Russian leaders over the dispute. \nThe renewed focus on the peace deal comes amid Japanese efforts to outbid China for a new oil pipeline from Siberia that could quench Asia's growing energy thirst. \nThe issue of the Kurils, whose Japanese residents were expelled after the Soviet takeover, has prevented the two nations from signing a post-war peace treaty and restricted Japanese investment in Russia. Putin said Monday he was ready to revive peace talks with Japan on the islands -- Habomai, Shikotan, Etorofu and Kunashiri. \n"We have always implemented and will continue to implement our [Soviet era] obligations -- especially ratified documents -- but of course only to the extent to which our partners are ready to implement these very same agreements," Putin said in televised remarks. \nHis comments referred to a 1956 declaration signed between Moscow and Tokyo in which Japan would receive two of the four islands in exchange for signing a peace treaty. \nPutin is due to visit Japan next year to commemorate the signing of the first treaty between Japan and tsarist Russia 150 years ago. \nKoizumi has demonstrated his determination for Japan to resume control of the islands, sailing near Habomai in September after ignoring Russian warnings that the trip would hamper talks on a bilateral peace treaty.
Chinese authorities have marshalled extraordinary resources to monitor a herd of traveling elephants and to keep it away from residential areas. Media reports quoted the Yunnan Forest Fire Brigade as saying that a team of eight people have been tracking the elephants, around the clock, on the ground and by drone. In the latest update, authorities said that the herd of wild Asian elephants had been tracked to a forest just outside a village in Xiyang Township, in Yunnan Province, about 90km southwest of the city of Kunming, heading back in the direction they came from. Drone images showed the elephants lying down
Tall, thin and brightly colored, Hanoi’s “tube houses” dominate the city’s streets as 9 million people compete for space in Vietnam’s bustling capital. Although Vietnam saw a number of villas and garden houses built during the French colonial period, Hanoi has few of these grand residential homes. Instead, tree-lined streets are packed with dwellings that are barely 4m wide, but are three times that in depth. Typically, a tube house might be home to a family of four, but two or three generations of relatives sometimes have to jostle for space. The first tube houses — known as nha ong in Vietnamese — are
The head of the Philippine military on Monday visited a coral-fringed island his country occupies in the South China Sea, a move that could stoke already heightened tensions between Manila and Beijing in disputed waters claimed by both countries. During the visit, Philippine Armed Forces Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana commended service members for the role they played in protecting the island’s residents and “guarding the country’s territories” in the strategic waterway. The visit comes after diplomatic protests made by the Philippines in the past few months over what it says is the illegal presence of hundreds of “Chinese maritime militia” vessels inside
Maori might have been the first to discover Antarctica, with connections to the icy continent and its surrounding oceans stretching back to the seventh century, researchers say. A new paper by University of Otago combines literature and oral histories, and concludes that Maori were likely the first people to explore Antarctica’s surrounding waters and possibly the continent in the distance. They write that Maori and Polynesian journeys to the deep south have been occurring for a long time, perhaps as far back as the 7th century, and are recorded in a variety of oral traditions. The oral histories of Maori groups Ngti Rrua