|Asia News Digest
Indonesia Asked To Host North Korea Talks
Indonesia has been asked by South Korea to host three-nation talks with North Korea, AFX Asia reported Jan. 25. Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said his South Korean counterpart Yoon Kwang-ung had raised the issue during his visit to Jakarta Jan. 23. The proposed three-way talks, Sudarsono said, would either be held in Jakarta or on the resort island of Bali "as soon as possible," with the intention to "help create a peaceful climate and solution" in the face of North Korea's refusal to return to six-party talks with the United States, China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia, Sudarsono told reporters.
Indonesia Defends Palestinian Vote; Challenges U.S. on 'Democracy'
The Indonesian Foreign Minister Hasan Wirayudha defended the vote in Palestine, which gave Hamas a majority in the parliament, and called America's bluff on its incessant hype about "democracy," Antara reported Jan. 27.
"I believe other democratic countries will also respect the democratic decision which has been made by the Palestinian people," Wirayudha said in a press conference in Jakarta Jan. 27. "We, as a democratic state, respect the decision, and other parties should not be hasty in making conclusions on who and how the process worked," he said.
Wirayudha said there should be no prejudice that Hamas must not rule because it is considered a radical group, noting that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was once a very radical figure, but later, he was able to promote the peace process by pulling Israeli troops out from Gaza.
Wirayudha just returned from a two-day visit in Iran, where he met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani. "Why not be a bit patient and continue the peaceful process before rushing to judgment and concluding that the talks over the Iran nuclear case have failed?" commented Wirajuda after his return, adding that Iran has an "inalienable right" to develop civilian nuclear projects.
Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, is actively considering a nuclear program of its own.
China To Build Experimental Fusion Device
The Institute of Plasma Physics, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has announced that an advanced experimental fusion device will be built in Hefei, in China's eastern Anhui Province. The project, known as EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak), will be built in March or April, and will be an upgrade of China's first such experimental device, the HT-7, which was built in partnership with Russia, in the early 1990s. The tokamak will use superconducting magnets to confine the fusion plasma. Experiments with the new reactor will start this summer.
Wan Yuanxi, who is in charge of the $37 million project, explained that EAST will prepare China for its participation in the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor, or ITER, which includes Russia, the U.S., the EU, South Korea, Japan, and India. After Russia, France, and Japan, China is the fourth country in the world to have built a superconducting fusion experiment.
East Timor, Indonesia Reject 'Human Rights' Tribunal
East Timor President Xanana Gusmao reluctantly turned over a UN-commissioned report on the atrocities in East Timor during the 1975-99 Indonesian occupation, the Washington Post reported Jan. 21. The report, although it acknowledges atrocities by the Timor rebels as well, accuses Indonesia of intentionally starving thousands, burning people alive, using napalm, and other barbarities. Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono described the report as "a war of numbers and data about things that never happened," noting that they had no napalm and that they had starved no one. President Gusmao was very reluctant to release the report at all, considering it a provocation.
Both East Timor and Indonesia have flatly rejected calls from the human rights mafia for a tribunal, preferring a "truth and friendship commission" established between the two nations. Gusmao also rejected the reports calling for "reparations" from the Western nations which supported Indonesia's occupation.
The human rights mob has been most frustrated that former rebel leader Gusmao has proven to be a President in the tradition of the Peace of Westphalia (which, in 1648, ended the Thirty Years' War in Europe), rather than serve as a puppet for Synarchists to be used for destabilizing nation-states.
New Bridge Opens Across Thailand-Myanmar Border
Despite efforts by the U.S. to force the nations of Southeast Asia, and especially Thailand, to join in the isolation and pressure on Myanmar, Thailand and Myanmar on opened a new "friendship bridge" Jan. 22 across the Sai River that divides the two neighbors, which Thailand hopes will boost trade with its neighbor and with nearby China, The Nation reported Jan. 23.
Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkol and his Myanmar counterpart Nyan Win presided over the opening ceremony at the bridge, linking Thailand's northern province of Chiang Rai with the town of Tachilek in Myanmar. "We expect closer relationships with Myanmar not only in trade but also in transportation and tourism," Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Apichart Phetcharatana told AFP.
The new 295-foot, two-lane bridge also gives Thailand an improved road link to China. The Chinese-Myanmar border is only about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the bridge. An earlier bridge across the Sai River opened in 1967, but it could not be expanded to accommodate increased traffic between the two countries. Construction of the new bridge was completed last month, the ministry said. Thailand is the biggest buyer of Myanmar's exports, according to the Asian Development Bank.
Cambodia's Ruling Party Sweeps Nation's First Senate Vote
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party swept the country's first Senate election Jan. 22, according to Agence France Presse. Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) received 7,854 votes in Sunday's vote, while the royalist FUNCINPEC party won 2,320, and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party 1,165, according to provisional results from the National Election Committee. (Only 11,261 commune councilors throughout the country and 123 parliamentarians were eligible to take part in the election.) That would give Hun Sen's party about 43 of the 57 seats up for grabs, eight more than it has now, according to unofficial projections by the ruling party, party spokesman Khieu Kanharith told AFP.
The Sam Rainsy Party, openly sponsored by the International Republican Institute, part of the U.S. "Project Democracy" subversion network, appears to have won only two seats, top party official Sam Rithy Duong Hak said.
Previously Senators had been appointed by their political parties and the King.