2009年6月1日 星期一

Quote of the week

Facing a national uproar over lawmakers claiming lavish expenses, Britain's prime minister, Gordon Brown, promised Sunday to pursue constitutional reforms — including a proposal to remove legislators' power to decide their own pay. He said the government was considering reforms that would mean lawmakers no longer set the rules about their salaries and expenses.
“There will be no more of the gentleman's club,” Mr. Brown said on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show. Self-regulation, closed society — that was a 19th-century idea.”
He said he wanted to overhaul the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber, and set up external supervision of Parliament, adding that he wanted an independent panel to scrutinize all lawmakers' expense claims for the past four years.

U.S. officials headed to Asia for 'intensive' talks on North Korea

By Elise Labott CNN State Department Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A high-level U.S. delegation is going to Asia for "intensive consultations" on what North Korea's increasingly alarming behavior means for U.S. security alliances in the region, senior administration officials tell CNN.

The trip will spin off Defense Secretary Robert Gates' previously announced trip to a regional security conference in Singapore and consultations in Tokyo, Japan, the senior officials said.
After those stops, a delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg is expected to travel to Beijing, Seoul and Moscow to discuss how the U.S. partners in the six-party talks should deal with North Korea, the senior officials said.

The State Department announced Thursday that Steinberg will accompany Gates to Singapore for the security conference, and then to Tokyo "for consultations with senior Japanese officials on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues." Defense ministers from Japan and South Korea are expected to be at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

The senior officials said that Steinberg then will lead a delegation to the other three stops. He is expected to be accompanied by Undersecretary of Defense Michelle Flournoy, Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth, and Jeffrey Bader, senior director for Asian affairs on the National Security Council, the officials said.

While North Korea is unpredictable, Pyongyang has said publicly it would conduct a nuclear test and missile tests and has proved true to its word.

Washington still refuses to accept North Korea as a full-fledged nuclear power. But officials said the Obama administration is having serious discussions about whether the nation's actions this week have constituted a "tipping point," offering the world final proof about its intentions to develop what it calls a "nuclear deterrent."

"People are rightfully asking whether this is a game changer," one senior official said about North Korea's recent antics. "Are they saying, as they have been signaling, 'We are going to be a nuclear power come hell or high water and you will have to deal with us from that position'? Is this for real and how do we deal with this? These are disturbing circumstances which will require a different posture."

Officials say the discussions will go beyond the resolution being crafted at the U.N. Security Council and will address the determination and capability of nations to get tough on North Korea. The goal, they say, is to persuade Pyongyang that going back to the negotiating table is the only option. They say all scenarios will be put on the table, including strengthening resolve to interdict ships bound for and coming from North Korea, as well as tougher economic and trade sanctions to curb Pyongyang's access to income.

"If we accept that this is what they are doing, will China's position be the same?" the senior official asked. "Russia will also be key. Are these countries ready to really put the screws to North Korea?"

South Korea and Japan will also be asked to think beyond their rhetoric and country-specific issues, such as the Japanese abductee issue, to think about the larger issues of security in the region.

"This all makes us ask what this means for our alliance relationship," the senior official said. "We have to discuss how we meet the threat without creating a panic with what we are doing."

Seriously complicating matters is the health of ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Officials say no one knows who is running North Korea, one of the most opaque and mysterious countries in the world. There is also no clear line of succession in place once Kim dies.

Officials say the country's internal dynamics are a large, if not the critical, component driving North Korea's actions, which is particularly concerning because the future of the regime is an aspect in which no nation, including the China, can do anything to alter the equation. That means that even the most strenuous international diplomacy might influence North Korean behavior only on the margins and will have little effect on how this situation ultimately plays out.

Comment on Korean Peninsula

Recent days, the Korea Peninsula becomes more unstable. The former president of South Korea Roh Moo-Hyun suicide and North Korea keeps launching the missiles to provoke the international society. As soon as South Korea declared that they join the PSI, North Korea also declared that they will no longer observe the armistice of Korean War.

The international society condemns North Korea whenever they launch the missile, especially South Korea and Japan. In 2006, North Korea tested the first nuclear weapon and it made the U.S. very nervous. The U.S. even raised the alarm level to the second. This time, North Korea launched the missiles and tested the nuclear and ignored the denunciation of the international society has made it to be regarded as one of the most dangerous country in the world.

China and Russia, as the best allies of North Korea, also agree with the UN Security Council that North Korea should receive the punishment. But in order to the economic independence and other interests, China may not join the U.S. and other countries to impose sanction against North Korea. Therefore, China plays the most important role in this game.

South Korea and Japan strongly insist that North Korea should give up nuclear and missile, and come back to the table for negotiation. South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak has warned North Korea that they will never allow those provocative actions to happen again, they may try every way to keep peace in the region. UN Security Council hasn't decided the sanction against North Korea yet.

The U.S. and the other countries urge North Korea to come back to the table and negotiate for giving up nuclear and missile. They want to hold the six-party talks as soon as possible, the outside think that they must talk about building a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula and keeping the region peace. However, North Korea holds a strong position, and declares that they are a sovereignty country; it's legal to have nuclear weapon. The international power is now against North Korea power, and they can't reach a balance. As an unpredictable bomb, what's North Korea's next step? The whole world is on the alert.

2009年5月12日 星期二

Quote of the week

The amount of money that Western adoption agencies spend in poor countries is helping to defraud, coerce or kidnap children away from families that wanted to raise them to adulthood.

-----E.J. Graff
(the associate director and senior researcher at Brandeis University's Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism)

Westerners have been sold the idea that “millions” of healthy infants and toddlers in underdeveloped and war-torn countries are waiting to be rescued from poverty, abandonment and abuse. It's not so. In fact, the neediest children (especially outside China) are sick, disabled, traumatized or older than 5 — not the cute, healthy babies like Mercy James who, quite understandably, Westerners generally hope to adopt. There are simply not enough healthy, adoptable infants to meet Western demand — and there's too much Western money being spent in search of those healthy babies.

In places like Malawi, what stressed families and communities need more than adoption are basics like clean water, vaccinations, school funding and other social services that would help keep many families together. Some children do need homes. But Madonna is showing exactly what shouldn't be done: airlifting one or two pretty children into the comparative wealth of the West, leaving behind bereft families who want — but can't afford — to bring that child home.

Nepal parties try to form govt after Maoists quit

Tue May 5, 2009 6:08am EDT
By Krittivas MukherjeeKATHMANDU, May 5

(Reuters) - Nepal's political parties met on Tuesday in a bid to form a new coalition after Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda resigned and his party threatened street protests over a crisis sparked by the army chief's sacking.

Any effort to forge a new government could require bringing together about two dozen parliamentary groups, highlighting the difficulties of alliance-building in a democracy slowly emerging from a decade-old civil war.

The Maoists, the biggest group in parliament with 40 percent of seats, vowed to take to the streets and disrupt parliament to protest against what they say is their ousting by the opposition. It was unclear if they would attend Tuesday's meeting.

Police detained dozens of protesters who tried to march to the high-security presidential palace in the capital on Tuesday, demanding civilian supremacy over the army.

Former guerrilla leader Prachanda resigned after his decision to sack army chief Rookmangud Katawal was not backed by other government allies and the president, triggering a political deadlock.

"We will not let normal proceedings of parliament go ahead until the president corrects his highly unconstitutional and objectionable step of keeping Katawal in office," Maoist spokesman Dinanath Sharma said.

The Maoists accuse the army, on opposite sides of a civil war that ended three years ago, of undermining the authority of the civilian government.

The former rebels suspect that Katawal was loyal to the monarchy that was abolished last year and that he was backed by neighbouring India, the main regional power that critics say tries to meddle in Nepal's affairs

The Maoists have said they could consider backing a new government if Katawal is removed. Their numbers are crucial in a highly fractured Nepali parliament.

The main opposition, the Nepali Congress, is not bidding to lead a new coalition and has said it would back the moderate communist UML party if it staked a claim to form government.

The political uncertainty may delay the drafting of a new constitution, a key part of a 2006 peace deal that led to the Maoists laying down their arms before they won a 2008 election.

While the Maoists have warned of street protests, analysts said Prachanda's standing within the party had gone up since his resignation. But he could lose political ground if voters saw him as disruptive.

"They won't go back to the jungle but they're more than ready to take to the streets and paralyse any new administration," Rhoderick Chalmers, Nepal head of the Brussels-based think-tank International Crisis Group, wrote in India's Mail Today.

"They clearly command significant public support ... Prachanda's strongly worded but dignified resignation address was a claim to the moral high ground ... that may resonate with ordinary citizens," he said.

The crisis has also become a regional concern. India, already worried by troubles in neighbouring Pakistan and Sri Lanka and in the middle of its own general election, fears more political instability in another nearby state like Nepal.

India is Nepal's biggest trade partner and has great influence in the country, but it has also been accused of backing the army general against Prachanda. Some analysts say India was fearful that Prachanda was diplomatically edging towards China.

For ordinary Nepalis, the crisis was a blow to the optimism sparked by the Maoist election victory last year.

Nepalis found themselves struggling with daily power outages, high prices, massive fuel shortages and worsening public security and there were signs of disillusionment in the new democracy.

"The Maoists haven't delivered and they (the voters) see them as just like any other party," said Kunda Dixit, editor of the weekly Nepali Times. "But the people will not take it kindly if the Maoists are seen as obstructing."

Nepal has just abolished the monarchy which had last for 239 year-long last year. The democratic and constitutional regime is not mature enough, they will still face a lot of problems. The Great British has controlled Nepal for couple centuries until the end of WWII. As a landlocked country, north side by China and the other sides by India, the relations between these three countries are very close. The Maoist communism palys an important role of polity changing, it led the decade-long civil war and even got the power of the government. The sacking of the army chief lead to this demonstration. The Prime Minister Prachanda sack the army chief Katawal because of their different point of view, but Katawal got support from the other cabinet and the president. Prachanda resigned and criticized the president that is "unconstitution." This unstability of Nepali politics cause the nervous to India. Maoist in Nepal is led by Prachanda, his communist background make him be considered a pro-China. He even broke the tradition that the new Prime Minister would visit India as the first trip. This demonstration may occur the decade-long civil war comes up again, the internal unrest will keep going if the parliament can't elect a suitable new Prime Minister.

2009年5月5日 星期二

Quote of the week

"Today, most Pakistanis believe the United States will cut and run when it serves our purpose, a belief which undermines our long-term efforts to defeat extremists, foster democratic change, and support transparent and accountable institutions that promote security and stability in Pakistan."
As Pakistani forces continue to battle an advancing Taliban, the leading senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee introduced legislation Monday tripling aid to the country.
The $1.5 billion per year would triple U.S. non-military aid levels, currently at $500 million per year. The legislation also would separate military from non-military aid, promising that economic aid "is no longer the poor cousin to military aid."

Sri Lanka Rejects "Lectures" From Western Countries

Published: April 30, 2009

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — One of the highest-level European delegations to visit this war-torn country in years has failed to persuade the Sri Lankan government to declare a temporary truce with ethnic Tamil rebels.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka emphatically rejected the appeal Thursday and told Western governments to stop lecturing him, news agencies reported.

“The government is not ready to enter into any kind of cease-fire with the terrorists. It is my duty to protect the people of this country. I don’t need lectures from Western representatives,” he said in a speech distributed by his office and quoted by the news agencies.

“They’re not willing,” David Miliband, Britain’s foreign secretary, said in an interview after talks Wednesday with Mr. Rajapaksa and other officials. “The furthest the government has gone is to commit to no heavy weaponry and to minimize what they call collateral damage, mainly the damage to civilians.”

The Western delegation, which also included Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner of France, paid a one-day visit as intense fighting raged near tens of thousands of civilians who were being held as human shields by Tamil rebels.

Also on Thursday, The Associated Press reported that Balasingam Nadesan, a top Tamil Tiger leader, had ruled out a surrender. “Surrendering and laying down our arms are out of the question,” Mr. Nadesan was quoted as saying in an e-mail to The Associated Press from the combat zone.

Tamil groups say the government has broken its promise, made Monday, not to use heavy weaponry.

Mr. Kouchner, who has spent four decades in conflict zones and is a co-founder of Doctors Without Borders, said in an interview before his departure that he did not entirely trust the Sri Lankan government’s assurances.

“Do I believe them? No, not completely,” he said. But he said he discounted claims by the rebels even more.

Both foreign ministers will report their findings to the European Union and the United Nations Security Council.

Tensions have risen between Sri Lanka and foreign governments over the plight of the estimated 50,000 civilians captive in the combat zone.

As a reflection of those strains, the European delegation was without a third official, Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, who was denied permission to enter the country. Sweden recalled its top diplomat in the country over the episode. Sri Lanka now says Mr. Bildt is welcome to visit in May.

Reuters reported late Wednesday that the United States had decided to delay a $1.9 billion International Monetary Fund bailout for Sri Lanka's central bank to pressure the government to do more to help trapped civilians.

Mr. Kouchner said he recognized the difficulty faced by the government, which believes it is close to winning its 25-year war against the Tamil Tigers. The government and its supporters say they fear that any lull in the fighting would allow the Tigers to regroup, as they have in the past.

"They told us: ''This is not Iraq, this is not Afghanistan. This is our internal fight,''" Mr. Kouchner said.

As he and Mr. Miliband toured refugee camps on Wednesday, Sri Lanka's Defense Ministry reported “hours of intense close-quarter fighting” between rebels and government troops.

The Sri Lankan Navy, meanwhile, said it had thwarted a sea-borne rebel attack, destroying what it described as four suicide boats. Rebel-controlled territory, which once covered nearly one-third of the country, has been reduced to three square miles, the military said Wednesday.

As a measure of the civilian casualties in the conflict, a field hospital that Mr. Kouchner visited received 60 patients on Wednesday alone.

Around 6,500 civilians have died since late January and twice that number have been wounded, according to the United Nations.

The European delegation is the latest of several high-profile visits in recent days centered on the plight of the civilians. Senior Indian officials and the United Nations humanitarian coordinator both failed to persuade the government to stop the fighting.

The United Nations and foreign governments have also tried but failed to persuade the Tamil Tigers to let the civilians go. It is unclear whether they would change their minds if the government agreed to a cease-fire.

Humanitarian conditions in the rebel-held zone and in the camps across northern Sri Lanka are dire, according to doctors, aid agencies and the United Nations.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees described “overcrowding, malnourishment, dehydration and limited medical facilities” at the refugee camps.

2009年4月27日 星期一

Quote of the week

“It won't surprise you to hear that I think moderation is important in the affairs of states,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after meeting the president, Michel Suleiman, a former chief of the armed forces who stays above the political fray.

Ms. Clinton touched down in Lebanon on Sunday for a lightning visit to express support for this fragile country, six weeks before crucial parliamentary elections in which the Islamic militant group Hezbollah is expected to make significant gains.

“We want to see a strong, independent, free and sovereign Lebanon,” she said, noting that President Obama had sent Mr. Suleiman a letter expressing those sentiments. “This election will be, obviously, an important milestone.”

Obama invites Mideast leaders for talks on 'comprehensive peace'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama is launching an effort "to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East," his spokesman said Tuesday.

Obama has invited key regional leaders to Washington in the coming weeks for consultations on the peace process, Robert Gibbs said.

Obama wants to meet separately with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Gibbs told reporters.

Dates for the visits are still being worked out, he said.

Obama met Tuesday with Jordan's King Abdullah II."

With each of them, the president will discuss ways the United States can strengthen and deepen our partnerships with them, as well as the steps all parties must take to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab states," Gibbs said.

The leadership of Hamas, considered by the United States and Israel to be a terrorist organization, is not being invited. The group, which also provides social services, won elections in the Palestinian territories in 2006, prompting stringent sanctions from the West.

After the election, skirmishes between Abbas' Fatah and Hamas escalated, ending with Hamas in charge in Gaza and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in charge in the West Bank.

A six-month cease-fire between Hamas and Israel ended late last year and was followed by Israel's three-week incursion into Gaza. Israel said that operation was aimed at halting rocket and mortar fire on its southern towns and communities.

Despite a cease-fire called in January at the end of that fight, both Hamas rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes have continued.

Obama appointed a special Middle East envoy on his second full day in office -- former Sen. George Mitchell -- and dispatched him to the region within weeks.

Last week, during his third trip to the region since his appointment, Mitchell reiterated the U.S. desire to see a "two-state solution" in the Middle East, bringing speculation that the United States and Israel's new right-leaning government could be on a collision-course.

Netanyahu has indicated he wants serious negotiations with the Palestinians to continue, but he has not explicitly stated his support for Palestinian statehood.

Questions about the new Israeli government's commitment to a negotiated peace process came up when the nationalist politician and new Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared the Annapolis process "null and void." The Annapolis process, launched by the Bush administration, paved the way for the resumption of Israeli and Palestinian talks after they stopped earlier in the decade.

The United States has been making on-again, off-again forays into solving the Middle East crisis for decades.

Former President Bush made a push late in his term, convening a peace conference at Annapolis, near Washington, at the end of 2007."

The parties have said they are going to make efforts to conclude this during the president's term. That's what we will try and do," then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in November 2007, a week before the conference.

Bill Clinton hammered away at the problem as president in the 1990s, bringing together Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan, and Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel at Camp David in the last year of his presidency. They failed to reach a deal.

Arafat and Hussein have since died. Barak is defense minister under Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in a right-leaning government.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a hardliner, said last week the "traditional approach" to Middle East peacemaking "has so far brought neither results nor solutions" and that the "diplomatic process has reached a dead end," according to a press release from his ministry.

Comment on Middle East

The Middle East affair is now the most relative key to the world peace. Since President Obama assumed, he tries to make efforts on peacekeeping on Middle East and keep releasing the good intentions. He believes that his special background may be part of useful factor. Recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Iraq unawares. And President Obama has also dispatched the special envoy---the former Sen. George Mitchell as soon as he assumed.

As we can see, what American do is deepen and strengthen the ties between the U.S. and the Middle East countries, especially those important troublemakers. But the most troublesome power, Hamas, was not invited. It seems like Obama administration just give the world a show without the real actions. Take Palestine for example, the radical Hamas has beaten Fatah in 2006 and became the largest party in the Parliament.

As the official representation of Palestine, Fatah and Israel have acknowledged each others in 1993. However, Hamas is now the most powerful party in the Parliament, and Hamas has the different position to Fatah on Israeli issues. Hamas take every kind of violent manners in order to sweep all the Fatahs in Gaza Strip and wipe out Israel. I believe the situation in the Middle East is going to be worse without negotiating with Hamas.

I think it's very difficult to make consensus with Hamas because it's a religious organization. They believe in Allah, protect their homeland by life. They consider it's very honor to die for their God, they are born to be the warriors. Since the death of Yasser Arafat, the inner situation of Palestine is getting more chaotic. It's no longer the regional affaire but the worldwide. The power countries have to show their sincerity and also other countries in the region. However, that relates to religious affair, of course it will be much more difficult to make consensus or even solve it. The lefty Obama administration and right-leaning Israeli government, could they be on a collision-course on those common issues? Let's wait and see.

2009年4月21日 星期二

ECFA: Focus on issues, not name

By Chuang Yih-chyi 莊奕琦
Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009, Page 8

The world economy has grown rapidly since globalization started spreading in the mid-1980s. Between 1986 and 2007, the world economy expanded by an average of 3.59 percent, with average growth in exports reaching a high 11.45 percent. As of December last year, there were 230 regional trade arrangements around the globe registered with the WTO, of which 205 — or nearly 90 percent — were established after 1990.

Regional groupings in East Asia were originally driven by market integration; however, after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, East Asian nations started to move toward institution-led integration. For example, the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) was set up to strengthen the East Asian economies and encourage their steady development.

The ruling and opposition parties in Taiwan are now arguing over whether an institution-led agreement should be signed between Taiwan and China. One bone of contention was the pact proposed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), called the comprehensive economic cooperation agreement or CECA (before the government revised it to economic cooperation framework agreement), was too similar in name to China's Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, or CEPA, with Hong Kong and Macau.

Viewed realistically and in terms of Taiwan's future development, there is a definite necessity for the signing of an institution-led agreement on trade between Taiwan and China.

Official statistics show that from 1991 to last October, Taiwan had invested a total of US$73.8 billion in China, with cumulative trade reaching as much as US$752.4 billion. However, not one single official investment guarantee or trade agreement has been signed between Taiwan and China. This makes Taiwanese trade with China risky as it lacks any safeguards. It also goes against the spirit of the WTO and is potentially damaging to the Taiwanese economy.

An institution-led agreement on trade between Taiwan and China should be signed under the WTO framework. This is the only way to improve bilateral relations between Taiwan and China and promote multilateral relations with other East Asian nations. With improved multilateral relations, the presence and placement of Taiwanese businesses around the globe, as well as their international competitiveness, would be greatly enhanced. We cannot afford to sacrifice long-term multilateral benefits at the expense of short-term benefits that may come from over-emphasizing a special bilateral cooperative relationship between Taiwan and China.

The normalization and institutionalization of trade between Taiwan and China would be helpful to Taiwan’s internationalization and would also help stop Taiwan from being marginalized. The US and ASEAN have already made their stance clear by saying they wanted Taiwan to sign a trade agreement with China first before they would consider signing free trade agreements with Taiwan.

We should bear this in mind because other nations may harbor the same expectations toward Taiwan. If Taiwan were marginalized while other countries enjoy preferential treatment such as zero tariffs as a result of the agreements they ratified with other nations, Taiwanese manufacturers would lose their international competitiveness and would have to either close down or move all of their business operations to China. The result of this would be a Taiwan even more reliant on China economically and a government with even more China-leaning policies.

Institution-led negotiations carried out under the WTO framework could incorporate exclusion clauses to provide controls and restraints where necessary. This would help protect weaker industries such as agriculture and select service industries, as well as reduce the damage to such industries after an economic opening. Before any discussion with other nations is conducted, a consensus on critical issues should first be formed in Taiwan. Issues such as which local markets would be opened up and how those who may suffer as a result of the market opening would be compensated should be clearly defined before any action is taken. This would help erase public doubt and ease worries about the opening.

The institutionalization of trade does not equate to the institutionalization of politics. Economies are influenced by markets, while politics is shaped by democratic process. The EU is a clear example of this. Taiwan is an independent and sovereign democratic nation where the people have the final say.

In conclusion, to promote internationalization while protecting Taiwanese investment and trade with China and avoid Taiwan being marginalized, Taipei and Beijing should carry out discussions on institution-led agreements and ratify them as soon as possible. The reasons for doing so are obvious. The name of the agreement is not important as long as its content is in line with the spirit and content of the free trade agreements under the WTO framework.

The ruling and opposition parties should stop wasting their energy squabbling over what the agreement should be called and start focusing on openly discussing the framework and details of a cross-strait trade agreement that would benefit and promote Taiwanese welfare.

Comment on ECFA

The ruling and opposition party have already argued the topic which about if we should sign ECFA or not for a long time. President Ma Ying-Jiou insists that's a part of his politics, the government must do it. But the opposition claims that might harm the sovereignty of Taiwan. In the beginning, they're arguing about the name of the pact. China has signed CEPA with Hong Kong and Macau in 2003, the opposition thinks we cannot compare with HK and Macau because they are part of China. In my point of view, they are right; we should emphasize our sovereignty in any negotiations. But in fact, the government never mentions about signing CEPA. They talked about CECA. In order to mistake people, the name has been changed to "ECFA."

I think it's necessary to sign the pact with China as soon as possible. Of course, it should be under the WTO framework and the equal position. The East Asia FTA will be finished in 2010, if Taiwan keep staying outside and do not clear the tariff obstacles of trade between other Asian countries, Taiwan will be marginalized. The products of those countries can circulate without any restraint, so that Taiwan might lose the competitiveness. Under the strong pressure of China, it's almost impossible to sign any FTA with other countries. The U.S. and ASEAN have already made their stance clearly that they won't sign any FTA with Taiwan unless Taiwan has signed with China. Also, the total trade between Taiwan and China has increased rapidly, but there's no pact to protect. It's really risky for the welfare. We may not only lose the international competitiveness but also our inner market.

Although some industries may lost their benefits, but it's sure to lost some benefits when signing the FTA. But, it'll never be sovereignty. If the advantages are much more than the disadvantages, why keep it out? President Ma said we'll not open the circulation of Chinese labors and agriculture products. But it is against the "National Treatment" of WTO. How to lowest the risk is the most important goal before signing ECFA.

We should start the official communication with China, it's necessary. The opposition is better to give up the bias of China. Whenever they mention about China, they turn things down in reflectivity, that's too ideological. Anyway, it's better to discuss about economy in economic way, not politics. It conforms just to the principles of cross-strait economic normalization.

2009年4月14日 星期二

Quote of the week

“We will surely win,” the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, said during his recent birthday party, according to the March 28 edition of Rodong Sinmun, Pyongyang's main state-run newspaper. Rodong then explained Mr. Kim's tactic: “If our sworn enemies come at us with a dagger, he brandishes a sword. If they train a rifle at us, he responds with a cannon.”

2009年4月7日 星期二

Quote of the week

The U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been in touch with representatives of the four other permanent five nations and would make more calls on Monday.

"We're going to continue to go forward in discussions with our partners in the council to see and to seek a strong, coordinated and effective response," Wood said.

Susan Rice, in her CNN interview, said, "We believe the most appropriate form for that response to take would be a Security Council resolution with some teeth in it.

"We will continue to work in that direction, but we have also to look at our bilateral mechanisms and further steps." The goal, she said, is "a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula."

No accord at U.N. talks on N. Korea

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- An emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council concluded Sunday without an official reaction to North Korea ignoring repeated international warnings and launching a long-range rocket, the council president told reporters.

"Consultations will go on among members to see what is the appropriate position that the council will take," said Claude Heller, the current Security Council president, and Mexico's U.N. ambassador. When the council would reconvene wasn't clear, but Heller said it would be "as soon as possible."

"I think that there is a very strong call for dialogue, to reconvene, and I think there is consensus in saying that the Security Council regretted the government of [North Korea] disregarded the call by [the] international community to suspend the launching," he said.

The launch, at about 11:30 a.m. Korean time on Sunday, set off an immediate firestorm of criticism, inflamed tensions in the Far East, and heightened fears over the North Korean regime's potential ability to undermine nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

The North Korean government said the act was a peaceful launch of a satellite, but a U.S. State Department spokesman declared it a "provocative act in violation" of a 2006 Security Council resolution prohibiting North Korea from conducting ballistic missile launches.

"The launch constituted a clear-cut violation" of the resolution, said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. North Korea's action "merits a clear, strong response" and in the U.S. view, that would come in the form of a council resolution, Rice said.

Japan's U.N. representative, Yukio Takasu, who requested the emergency meeting, agreed, saying the council's response should be clear and unified.

The Security Council's response could come in several forms, including a resolution, a Security Council presidential statement or some other form of public condemnation.

Still, the U.N. ambassador from China -- a council member and ally of North Korea expected to resist a resolution -- said the formal reaction to the reclusive nation should be "cautious and proportionate."

"We are now in a very sensitive moment," Ambassador Zhang Yesui said. "All countries concerned should show restraint and refrain from taking action that could lead to increased tension."

He said China is "committed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula," and pursuing six-party talks, which both the United States and Japan have also indicated. The six-party talks with North Korea include South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the launch during a visit to the Czech Republic.

"Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now's the time for a strong international response," the president said during a speech before a huge crowd in Prague.

"North Korea must know that the path to security and respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons. All nations must come together to build a stronger global regime. That's why we must stand shoulder to shoulder to pressure the North Koreans to change course," he said.

Obama is in the middle of a five-nation, eight-day European tour. He was awakened in Prague with news of the launch early Sunday.

Wendy Sherman, who coordinated the Clinton administration's North Korean policy, said she believes North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il "is up to several things."

"First, he wants to solidify his own position as the leader of his country, following a stroke," Sherman said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"He [also] wants to tell his military that it's a military-first economy, because, in fact, they get money -- funds from the sale of this missile technology.

"And he wants to say to the Obama administration, 'Pay attention to me. I'm serious. I have chips on the table, and negotiating with me is serious business.' "

The North Korean government claimed the launch put a satellite into orbit. American military officials, however, said the launch was a failure, saying the rocket's payload cleared Japanese airspace but didn't enter into orbit.

"Stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan. The remaining stages along with the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean," according to a statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Northern Command, read by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

"No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan," and NORAD and the Northern Command assessed "the launch vehicle as not a threat to North America or Hawaii and took no action in response to this launch," said Gibbs.

Takeo Kawamura, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, told reporters that his country's military was not forced to intercept any missile, which it had pledged to do if necessary. Japanese ships were moving to the areas where parts of the rocket are believed to have fallen to retrieve them, Japanese government officials said.

The South Korean president also condemned the launch, calling it a "serious threat" to world peace, state-sponsored Yonhap news agency reported.

"We cannot withhold our regrets and disappointment that North Korea has caused such a serious threat to peace ... when the entire world is joining efforts to overcome the global economic crisis," Lee Dong-kwan, a presidential spokesman said.

The following is a sampling of reaction to the launch from other world leaders before the Security Council meeting:

• U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "The Secretary-General regrets that, against strong international appeal, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [DPRK] went ahead with its planned launch," said a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"Given the volatility in the region, as well as a stalemate in interaction among the concerned parties, such a launch is not conducive to efforts to promote dialogue, regional peace and stability. The Secretary-General urges DPRK to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions, and all countries concerned to focus on ways to build confidence and restore dialogue, including the early resumption of the six-party talks."

• Russia's foreign minister called for restraint after the launch, the Russian Interfax news agency reported Sunday, saying that Russian officials would examine whether it violated any U.N. Security Council resolutions.

• British Foreign Secretary David Miliband: "I strongly condemn North Korea's action in conducting a satellite launch earlier today. Pyongyang [North Korea] continues to pursue a hostile policy towards the rest of the world, it cannot hope to take its rightful place within the international community."

• The European Union presidency, currently held by the Czech Republic: "The EU strongly condemns the 'experimental communications satellite' launch performed on 5 April 2009 by the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in breach of the UNSC Resolution 1718.

"These actions place additional strains on regional stability at a time when the unresolved nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula requires mutual confidence building. Such actions are also a matter of more general concern due to their global proliferation implications."

"The EU urges the DPRK to comply with the UNSC Resolution 1718 and immediately to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme, and abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner."

North Korea has launched a missile disregarded the warning from the world. Before launching the missile, Japan has declared that they would do everything to prevent the launch. The U.S. officials thought it's a very strong threat to world peace. The launch was during President Obama's visit in Czech Republic. He appealed the world to stand together in order to prevent the spread of weapons and all nations must build a stronger global regime. Although most of the countries condemned the act of North Korea, the experts said that the launch actually means nothing. It's just an provocative action, and Kim Jong-Il just wants the U.S. to notice him. Since President Obama assumed, he focuses on the issues of Middle East and the effects to the U.S. from economic crisis. Kim Jong-Il wants to be noticed more often for his position and his countries. The launch represents that Kim Jong-Il is reminding the world to value North Korea, like "I'm serious, sit down to negotiate with me." North Korean government claimed they launched a satellite into orbit; however, the U.S. officials said the launch was failure, and the rocket has separated to pieces and fell into the Pacific Ocean. The UNSC cannot make consensus in the reconvening, so it's better to hold the six-party talks as soon as possible, I believe that sometimes negotiating is the best way to solve problems.

2009年3月24日 星期二

U.N. Rights Official Fears War Crimes in Sri Lanka

Published: March 13, 2009

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Government forces and Tamil rebels may be committing war crimes against civilians trapped in a conflict zone and should suspend their fighting to allow them to escape, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights said Friday.

The military, in what it says is a final assault in a 25-year separatist war, has cornered the remnants of the insurgency on a sliver of land that is packed with civilians — as many as 180,000, according to the United Nations official, Navi Pillay.

In a statement issued in Geneva, Ms. Pillay said the government had repeatedly shelled the area, which it had designated a “no fire” zone for civilians. At the same time, she said, the rebels, known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or L.T.T.E., were using the civilians as human shields and had reportedly shot some as they tried to flee.

“Certain actions being undertaken by the Sri Lankan military and by the L.T.T.E. may constitute violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” Ms. Pillay said.

“The world today is ever sensitive about such acts that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” she added.

The government strongly denies that it has shelled civilian areas, and it puts the number of people in the combat zone at 70,000, lower than most independent estimates.

“We have very clearly stated that we have not at any time fired at the no fire zone,” said Mahinda Samarasinghe, the minister for disaster management and human rights, speaking to The Associated Press.

Independent reporters and most humanitarian groups have been barred from the battle zone, and reports from the area are difficult to verify.

In addition to barring civilians from leaving the area, the rebels are also reported to be recruiting civilians, including children, as soldiers, Ms. Pillay’s office said in the statement.

“The brutal and inhuman treatment of civilians by the L.T.T.E. is utterly reprehensible, and should be examined to see if it constitutes war crimes,” she said.

Citing “a range of credible sources,” Ms. Pillay said more than 2,800 civilians had been killed and more than 7,000 had been wounded, including hundreds of children, since Jan. 20. She said 150,000 to 180,000 civilians remained trapped by the fighting, which is in northeastern Sri Lanka.

The Tamil rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. The Hindu Tamils are a minority in the mostly Buddhist Sinhalese nation. Their insurgency has been particularly brutal, marked by suicide bombings and attacks on civilians.

“The current level of civilian casualties is truly shocking,” Ms. Pillay said, “and there are legitimate fears that the loss of life may reach catastrophic levels, if the fighting continues in this way.”

2009年3月17日 星期二

quote of the week

"I get to work and pull up my Google news. I guess I am part of the problem."

Somali Pirates Tell Their Side: They Want Only Money


Published: September 30, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya — The Somali pirates who hijacked a Ukrainian freighter loaded with tanks, artillery, grenade launchers and ammunition said in an interview on Tuesday that they had no idea the ship was carrying arms when they seized it on the high seas.

“We just saw a big ship,” the pirates’ spokesman, Sugule Ali, said in a telephone interview. “So we stopped it.”

The pirates quickly learned, though, that their booty was an estimated $30 million worth of heavy weaponry, heading for Kenya or Sudan, depending on whom you ask.

In a 45-minute interview, Mr. Sugule spoke on everything from what the pirates wanted (“just money”) to why they were doing this (“to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters”) to what they had to eat on board (rice, meat, bread, spaghetti, “you know, normal human-being food”).

He said that so far, in the eyes of the world, the pirates had been misunderstood. “We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits,” he said. “We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard.”

The pirates who answered the phone call on Tuesday morning said they were speaking by satellite phone from the bridge of the Faina, the Ukrainian cargo ship that was hijacked about 200 miles off the coast of Somalia on Thursday. Several pirates talked but said that only Mr. Sugule was authorized to be quoted. Mr. Sugule acknowledged that they were now surrounded by American warships, but he did not sound afraid. “You only die once,” Mr. Sugule said.

He said that all was peaceful on the ship, despite unconfirmed reports from maritime organizations in Kenya that three pirates were killed in a shootout among themselves on Sunday or Monday night.

He insisted that the pirates were not interested in the weapons and had no plans to sell them to Islamist insurgents battling Somalia’s weak transitional government. “Somalia has suffered from many years of destruction because of all these weapons,” he said. “We don’t want that suffering and chaos to continue. We are not going to offload the weapons. We just want the money.”

He said the pirates were asking for $20 million in cash; “we don’t use any other system than cash.” But he added that they were willing to bargain. “That’s deal-making,” he explained.

Piracy in Somalia is a highly organized, lucrative, ransom-driven business. Just this year, pirates hijacked more than 25 ships, and in many cases, they were paid million-dollar ransoms to release them. The juicy payoffs have attracted gunmen from across Somalia, and the pirates are thought to number in the thousands.

The piracy industry started about 10 to 15 years ago, Somali officials said, as a response to illegal fishing. Somalia’s central government imploded in 1991, casting the country into chaos. With no patrols along the shoreline, Somalia’s tuna-rich waters were soon plundered by commercial fishing fleets from around the world. Somali fishermen armed themselves and turned into vigilantes by confronting illegal fishing boats and demanding that they pay a tax.

“From there, they got greedy,” said Mohamed Osman Aden, a Somali diplomat in Kenya. “They starting attacking everyone.”

By the early 2000s, many of the fishermen had traded in their nets for machine guns and were hijacking any vessel they could catch: sailboat, oil tanker, United Naitons-chartered food ship.

“It’s true that the pirates started to defend the fishing business,” Mr. Mohamed said. “And illegal fishing is a real problem for us. But this does not justify these boys to now act like guardians. They are criminals. The world must help us crack down on them.”

The United States and several European countries, in particular France, have been talking about ways to patrol the waters together. The United Nations is even considering something like a maritime peacekeeping force. Because of all the hijackings, the waters off Somalia’s coast are considered the most dangerous shipping lanes in the world.

On Tuesday, several American warships — around five, according to one Western diplomat — had the hijacked freighter cornered along the craggy Somali coastline. The American ships allowed the pirates to bring food and water on board, but not to take weapons off. A Russian frigate is also on its way to the area.

Lt. Nathan Christensen, a Navy spokesman, said on Tuesday that he had heard the unconfirmed reports about the pirate-on-pirate shootout, but that the Navy had no more information. “To be honest, we’re not seeing a whole lot of activity” on the ship, he said.

In Washington, Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, declined to discuss any possible American military operations to capture the ship.

“Our concern is right now making sure that there’s a peaceful resolution to this, that this cargo does not end up in the hands of anyone who would use it in a way that would be destabilizing to the region,” Mr. Morrell told reporters at the Pentagon. He said the United States government was not involved in any negotiations with the pirates. He also said he had no information about reports that the pirates had exchanged gunfire among themselves.

Kenyan officials continued to maintain that the weapons aboard were part of a legitimate arms deal for the Kenyan military, even though several Western diplomats, Somali officials and the pirates themselves said the arms were part of a secret deal to funnel weapons to southern Sudan.

Somali officials are urging the Western navies to storm the ship and arrest the pirates because they say that paying ransoms only fuels the problem. Western diplomats, however, have said that such a commando operation would be very difficult because the ship is full of explosives and the pirates could use the 20 crew members as human shields.

Mr. Sugule said his men were treating the crew members well. (The pirates would not let the crew members speak on the phone, saying it was against their rules.) “Killing is not in our plans,” he said. “We only want money so we can protect ourselves from hunger.”

When asked why the pirates needed $20 million to protect themselves from hunger, Mr. Sugule laughed and said, “Because we have a lot of men.”

Mohammed Ibrahim contributed reporting from Mogadishu, Somalia, and Eric Schmitt from Washington.

The Somalia's coast are considered the most dangerous shipping areas in the world. The pirates groups are getting more and more stronger, they plunder all kind of vessels nearby, no matter the food, nessesaries, especially the weapons. The pirates claimed that the cases of maritime conflicts which happened recently are sort of protecting their water's sovereignty. They were preventing illegal fishing and dumping waste of their seas. As for the plunderage, they just want money but anything, it's a great group of them, they have to prevent hungary. But there were so many vessels of all the nationalities had been attacked, the international society is even considering to union a patrol or a martitime peacekeeping force of the somalia's coastline. The international society couldn't bear the hijacking anymore. The pirates said they never think about selling the weapons to those Islamist insurgents. All they want is just "money".

2009年3月10日 星期二

Tensions high in advance of Tibet anniversary

By Jaime FlorCruzCNN Beijing Bureau Chief

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- March 10 marks the 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule and the chasm between Beijing and critics of its Tibet policies remains deep and wide.

Pro-Tibet supporters have marched in London and other cities to mark the anniversary. "Tibetans have had enough Chinese rule," said Matt Wiskase, a protest organizer in London. "They emphatically reject Chinese rule in Tibet and they want to be free."

But Chinese officials blame the 50-year conflict on the Dalai Lama, accusing the Buddhist leader of seeking to sever Tibet from China.

"The Dalai side still insists on establishing a so-called Greater Tibet on a quarter of China's territory," Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told a news conference on the sidelines of the annual session of China's parliament. "They want to drive away the Chinese armed forces on Chinese territory and ask all non-Tibetans to relocate themselves, people who have long spend their lives in that part of the Chinese territory. You call this person a religious figure?"

Yang said China's "contradictions" with the Dalai Lama "is not about religious, human rights, ethnic or cultural issues but whether or not China will remain unified."

The Dalai Lama, 74, has repeatedly denied China's accusations. He says he seeks genuine autonomy for the region -- not independence -- and advocates the "Middle Way" of non-violence. He has won a Nobel Prize for advocating peace and is revered as an iconic figure overseas, but the Dalai Lama has never been allowed to return to Tibet, after fleeing his homeland in 1959. His emissaries have held sporadic talks with Chinese officials. But the talks, encouraged by the United States and other countries, have failed to break the impasse.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending troops to "liberate" the region from what it said was serfdom under the Dalai Lama. China has decreed that March 28 -- the day the Dalai Lama fled into exile in India -- is to be celebrated as "Serfs Emancipation Day."

"Prior to 1959, Tibet had long been a society of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule, a society which was even darker than medieval society in Europe," according to a white paper issued by the Chinese government last week. In recent days, China's state-run television has been airing prime-time programs showing just how good Beijing believes Tibetans have it under Chinese rule.

China for decades has poured billions of dollars into Tibet to modernize one of its most isolated regions.

Since 1994, the local gross domestic product has grown at an average annual rate of 12.8 percent, spurred by rapid growth in local industry, trade and tourism, according to the paper released by Beijing last week. Such a figure is higher than the national average for the same period, and is symbolized by a high-altitude railway link from Beijing to Tibet which opened in 2007.

In recent years, the region has seen an influx of Han Chinese and other ethnic groups, enticed by business and job opportunities. Although some Tibetans have benefited from the economic expansion, others are being left behind. China's critics complain of "cultural genocide" and repression of religious freedom. Resentful Tibetans say they are often treated as second-class citizens.

Last March, resentment spilled over when a peaceful protest in the Tibetan capital Lhasa turned violent, as mobs burned vehicles and shops and attacked ethnic Chinese. China blames the Dalai Lama for inciting protesters -- an allegation he has denied. Tibetan exiles say more than 200 people died when Chinese security forces clamped down, but Beijing denies this, saying 22 people, mostly Chinese civilians, died during riots.

Tension remains high ahead of the 50th anniversary. Journalists are not allowed to travel into Tibet but there are reports that China has deployed extra security troops into the region to avert a repeat of last year's violent unrest. Tibet's top official, Qiangba Puncog, says the anniversary is always a sensitive period but predicts there will be no major protests. "There should be no big problems in Tibet," he told reporters in Beijing.

But Zhang Qingli, the Communist Party chief in Tibet, says they are not letting their guard down. "We must keep a watchful eye, and with clenched fists, constantly be on the alert," he told the officers of the local riot police. "We must resolutely and directly strike at criminal elements who dare to stir up incidents. We must foil the separatist schemes of the Dalai clique."

The conflict that Tibet against Chinese rule 50 years ago resulted to Dalai Lama's exile. Tibetans have been trying to sever ties with Beijing, but Chinese government thinks it's kind of depriving their sovereignty. The independence of Tibet will never be allowed, Chinese government said resolutely. According to the violent repression which was happened in Tibet last year, Chinese government claimed that's a non-violent action, it aimed to end the Tibetan mobs unreasonable riot. But, obviously, Chinese government were kidding the whole world. They sent the armed forces into Tibet and killed some people. China did everything excessively to repress Tibet like a gangster. They sent a lot Hen Chinese to Tibet in order to dilute the genuine Tibetans, and execute riligious persecution. Dalai Lama's still exiling to India and not allowed to go back to Tibet. He has already announced that they don't want independence, just want autonomy. Even so, there's no room to negociate with unyielding Chinese government. Tibetans can just pray and keep waiting for the chance to change their fate.

2009年3月3日 星期二

U.S. envoy for North Korea may visit Pyongyang

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. envoy for North Korea hopes to visit that nation next week as part of what the Obama administration hopes will be a different relationship between Washington and Pyongyang, senior administration officials told CNN on Thursday.

Stephen Bosworth lectures at Tufts University, where he is dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Stephen Bosworth will travel first to China, South Korea and Japan -- U.S. partners in the six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program, the officials said. He will be traveling with Sung Kim, director of the State Department's Office of Korean Affairs, who has also acted as a top negotiator.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce Bosworth's trip to the region Thursday afternoon, the officials said.

They said Bosworth will consult with Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo about the status of the nuclear negotiations and determine whether they are approve of him making an overture to Pyongyang.

If the talks go well, Bosworth will then ask the North Korean government for permission to travel there, the officials said. It would be the first face-to-face contact between representatives of the Obama administration and the North Korean government.

North Korea is aware of the possibility of a visit, the officials said, but nothing has been scheduled.

Clinton appointed Bosworth as special representative for North Korea policy, overseeing U.S. efforts in the six-party talks. In addition to the United States and North and South Korea, China, Japan and Russia are taking part.

Bosworth, who has visited North Korea several times, served as U.S. ambassador to South Korea from 1997 to 2000 and was executive director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization from 1995 to 1997. He is now the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Officials say another option is for Bosworth to meet North Korean officials in Beijing. Bosworth just traveled to Pyongyang last month in his capacity as dean of the Fletcher school before being named to the government post.

The possible visit to North Korea comes as the Obama administration weighs greater engagement with the reclusive country. Clinton said before traveling to Asia last week that if North Korea moved ahead with denuclearization, the United States would be prepared to normalize relations and sign a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula.

Tension between Pyongyang and its neighbor South Korea has increased in recent weeks, with North Korea announcing it would scrap peace agreements with the South, warning of a war on the Korean Peninsula and appearing ready to test a missile capable of hitting the western United States.

U.S. and South Korean officials have said that North Korea seems to be preparing to test-fire its long-range missile, the Taepodong-2. Pyongyang tested one of the missiles in 2006, but it failed 40 seconds after launch. The missile is thought to have an intended range of about 4,200 miles (6,700 kilometers), which -- if true -- could give it the capability of striking Alaska or Hawaii.

Denying intelligence suggesting the missile test, North Korea announced Tuesday it is preparing to launch a satellite from its northeastern coast.

Clinton, who returned from Asia on Sunday after her first overseas trip as secretary of state, called North Korea's nuclear program "the most acute challenge to stability in northeast Asia" and has said there is a "testing period" at present about how diplomacy can move forward.

North Korea leader Kim Jong Il reportedly had a stroke in recent months and some observers claim he may not be fully in charge of the country. Clinton said last week that if Kim is replaced, "even it if is a peaceful succession, then that creates more uncertainty. It may also encourage even more provocative action as a way to delegate power."

The tension between North and South Korea has increased in recent weeks. North Korea keeps releasing the possibility of launching the missile and developing the nuclear weapon. And now, North Korea has been treated as one of the terroristic country. The U.S. tries to decrease the tension between Washington and Pyongyang in any manner. They'll hold the six-party talks in order to discuss the way to end North Korea's plans. The Obama administration has shown strongly to poise the relationship of Asian countries. First, Hillary Clinton chose Asia as her first trip as the Secretary of States. Now, the U.S. are planning to dispatch the envoy to negotiate with Asian countries especially North Korea. The meaning is not only to convince North Korea to give up launching the missile but also poise the unrest of the Korean Peninsula. If everything goes well, the Obama administration will have the first face-to-face contact with North Korea. And it also means the diplomacy relations of North Korea may lead to normalization.

2009年2月24日 星期二

Clinton: Chinese human rights can't interfere with other crises

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broached the issue of human rights with Chinese leaders on Saturday, but emphasized that the global financial slump and other international crises were more pressing and immediate priorities.

The United States will continue to press China on issues such as Tibet, Taiwan and human rights, she told reporters accompanying her.

"Successive administrations and Chinese governments have been poised back and forth on these issues, and we have to continue to press them. But our pressing on those issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis," she told reporters in Seoul, South Korea.

Clinton made China the last and most crucial stopover in her Asia trip, signaling the new administration's first attempts to lay a foundation toward a China policy. It is Clinton's first trip to China as secretary of state.

She met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday and discussed the framework for further high-level and mid-level discussions.

"It is essential that the United States and China have a positive, cooperative relationship," Clinton told a group of reporters.

Earlier Saturday, Clinton met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing, where they discussed what they regard as the new defining Sino-U.S. strategic goals: the world economic crisis, regional security and the environment.

The United States and China are the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

Human rights, a traditional topic in discussions between the two countries, was broached during Saturday's meeting between Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who agreed to engage in a continuous discussion on the issue.

Secretary Clinton said both nations will continue to hold frank discussions on crucial human rights issues, such as Tibet and freedom of expression in China. In the past, Clinton has been an outspoken, staunch critic of China's human rights stance.

In a welcoming response, Yang said China was willing to discuss the often-contentious subject of human rights.

"Although differences exist, China is willing to conduct the dialogues with the U.S. to push forward the human rights situation on the premise of mutual respect and noninterference in each other's internal affairs," Yang was quoted by China's state-run Xinhua news agency as saying.

On the economic front, both leaders emphasized the importance of working in cooperation since their economies are intertwined.

China, the world's top holder of U.S. debt, wants to ensure liquidity and security in its dealings with U.S. treasury bonds.
"We did use foreign exchange reserves to buy U.S. treasury bonds. Our principle of using reserves is to ensure security and liquidity," Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told reporters.
China-U.S. trade volume rose by 10.5 percent in 2008 to 333.7 billion U.S. dollars, Xinhua reported.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, China is North Korea's largest trade partner. It has taken a leadership position in the six-party talks, a multinational diplomatic effort to denuclearize North Korea.

In Seoul, Clinton did not refrain from harsh words, restating the U.S. position on North Korea.

"North Korea is not going to get a different relationship with the U.S. while insulting and refusing dialogue with the Republic of Korea," she said.

Mid-level military discussions will resume this month, Clinton announced Saturday. Last October, the Bush administration notified Congress of its plan to sell $6.5 billion in arms to Taiwan -- a move that caused China to suspend military talks with the U.S.

Clinton told CNN's Senior Correspondent Jill Dougherty that U.S. policy toward Taiwan will not change.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama are scheduled to meet at the G20 meeting in London in April.

Hillary Clinton made China the last stopover in her first trip as the Secretary of States. It's not only for steadying the relationship between the U.S. and Asia, also signals the Obama administration treats China as an important partner of multiple cooperation. Hillary's visit to China in order to discuss the issues on human rights, Tibet, and Taiwan. As the leader of the world, the U.S. has the obligation to keep peace and justice for the minorities. As for the issues of Taiwan, Hillary Clinton emphasized the U.S. policies toward Taiwan will not change, still insist on a China Policy. The Democratic has been always taking the protectionism than the Republican. Obviously, it's easily to know the policies toward Taiwan will not be changed or even inferior to the Bush administration's policies.