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Archive for November 25th, 2008|Daily archive page

Six-party talks to open in Beijing next month

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Seoul (VNA) – A fresh round of six-party talks will be held in China on December 8 to discuss the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear disarmament, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters on November 23.

“December 8th, they’re scheduled for in China … And we expect that there will be a push to finalise the verification protocol,” she was quoted by the Korea Times as saying en route from the Asia-Pacific Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting summit in Lima, Peru.

Rice was talking about the DPRK’s recent rejection of the US claim that Pyongyang agreed to allow access to its nuclear facilities and sampling for scientific and forensic verification of its declared nuclear programmes.
The talks have been stalled for months over how to verify DPRK’s nuclear facilities as part of a nuclear deal signed by the six parties in the multilateral talks.

US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill had earlier visited the DPRK capital in early October to settle on a verification regime.-

DPRK to suspend tourist project in Kaesong

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said on November 24 that it will halt all cross-border rail services and suspend other frontier crossings from next week in protest at the Republic of Korea’s (RoK) tough policies towards Pyongyang, according to local news reports.

The DPRK will also “selectively expel” RoK personnel from the joint Mount Geumgang resort and the Kaesong complex, according to the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Additionally, tours to the DPRK’s Kaesong city will be also put on hold.

All of the retaliatory measures will come into effect on December 1.

The DPRK said that, despite its November 12 announcement of its intention “to firmly restrict and cut off” border crossings from December 1, the RoK is “still hell-bent on its treacherous and anti-reunification confrontational racket.”

The prospects for inter-Korean relations will entirely depend on the attitude of the RoK authorities, the KCNA’s statement said.

There are more than 80 RoK factories in Kaesong, employing approximately 35,000 DPRK workers.-

MERCOSUR, ASEAN establish working relationship

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Buenos Aires (VNA) – Foreign ministers from the South American common market group (MERCOSUR) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are expected to meet in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia on November 25 to discuss measures to increase bilateral cooperation.

This will be the first official meeting between ministers from the two organisations, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said, adding that this marks the beginning of a systemized process of dialogue between them.

One of the topics on the agenda at the closed-door meeting will be a specification of areas that could expand trade turnover between the two groups.

Two-way trade between MERCOSUR nations and ASEAN members reached 11.75 billion USD during 2007, a modest sum given the size of the two groups and their potential for trade.

The two sides attending the meeting are scheduled to seek ways to establish a system of political dialogue in order to effectively work together to enhance their achievements at international forums.-

RoK, China establish military hotlines

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The Republic of Korea (RoK) and China have launched new military hotlines to prevent any accidental military clashes between the two countries, according to news reports.

The hotlines were officially opened on November 24, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding by the two countries’ Navies and Air Forces.

These also made the RoK first and only country that has set up military hotlines with China.

The hotlines aim to prevent accidental military incidents and will assist the process of mutual cooperation in the event of emergency situations.

The MoU is effective for the next five years and will be extended automatically unless one of the two countries raises an objection, the RoK’s KBS said.-

Agent Orange documentary screened in France

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Paris (VNA) – A documentary focusing on the use of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam has been screened as part of an international film festival in Paris, France.

The documentary is an entry in the 26 th international environmental film festival, currently taking place in Paris.

The film, produced by Sakata Masako and Bill Megalos and entitled “Agent Orange: personal requiem” is based on the experiences of Japanese director Masako’s husband Greg Davis, who was an American war veteran and journalist who died four years ago of liver cancer – a consequence of exposure to Agent Orange while serving in the war in Vietnam.

Masako visited Vietnam and met with victims of the killer chemical substance. She witnessed the negative impacts of Agent Orange/dioxin on people’s health as well as the long-term effects of the toxic chemical, which are still evident more than 30 years after the end of the war.

According to the director, the film expresses the international community’s condemnation of the US administration’s attitude and the irresponsibility of companies involved in the production and supply of the toxic chemical.

Throughout the film, the director emphasises the courage shown by the Agent Orange victims and their families in spite of the difficulties they face, thanks to their will, and the love and sharing that surrounds them.

The 26 th international film festival, which took place in Paris from November 19-25, attracted 87 films from 37 countries.-

Indonesia to host Asian Puppet Show Meeting

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – An “Asian Puppet Show Meeting” is to be held in Yogyakarta, Central Java of Indonesia, next month, and 13 countries have confirmed their attendance.

The countries attending the meeting include the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, China and Japan, Antara news agency on November 25 quoted the secretary general of the ASEAN Puppet Show Association, Tupuk Sutrisno, as saying.

The event is the first at an Asian level and was the brainchild of the ASEAN Puppet Show Association, with members from all ASEAN countries except Brunei, he said.

The association invited three other countries including Japan, India and China to participate in the meeting to develop their understanding of the importance of cooperation among Asian countries that possess a culture of puppet shows, he added.

Japan, India and China all have unique forms of puppet shows which continue to be preserved by artists performing in both classical and contemporary shows. During the meeting, it is expected that members will sign an agreement on the exchange of shows and experts, as well as discussing the establishment of puppet show centres to help preserve the art.-

Laos open 6th NA session to debate new laws

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Vientiane (VNA) – The 6 th National Assembly of Laos opened its 6 th plenary session on November 24 in Vientiane.

The NA session is expected to debate three new laws and amendments to a number of existing laws. The three new laws include decrees relating to border quarantine measures, publishing rights and management of state investments.

Laws to be amended include those covering electricity, contracts, inheritance, mining and investment.

The NA will also hear government’s reports on solutions to overcome consequences of the July flooding that caused heavy losses to production and affected people’s lives in many localities.

It will also approve the 2008-2009 fiscal budget as well as names and the exact calculation of ethnic minorities in the country. As part of the session, the NA standing committee will present a report on its working performance over the past time.-

Singapore proposes joint ventures with Malaysia

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysia and Singapore should consider undertaking joint iconic projects in Malaysia’s Iskandar economic development area, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak said, citing the Singaporean PM’s proposal.

Deputy PM Razak told Malaysian journalists that Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the suggestion during their bilateral meeting on November 22 on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

“It would be some economic projects that are viable,” he said after the end of the summit.

“We leave it to officials from both sides to discuss and identify the particular projects that are appropriate,” the Malaysian Deputy PM added.

Later, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said iconic projects would be those that have a high impact on the economies of both countries, according to Malaysia’s Bernama news agency.-

Singaporean Prime Minister visits Brazil

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Buenos Aires (VNA) – Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong began a two-day visit to Brazil on November 24 aimed at seeking greater bilateral cooperation.

The visit is a good chance for both countries to discuss multilateral issues of mutual concern. During the visit, the Common Market of South America (MERCOSUR) and the Association of Southeast Asian held their first official ministerial meeting in Brasilia capital city, on the same day, according to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.

The two sides are expected to review progress in bilateral ties in recent years, particularly in trade and investment, as well as the possibility of expanding cooperation to other fields of science-technology, tropical disease prevention and control, port logistics and aviation transport.

Singapore is Brazil’s important trading partner in ASEAN. Bilateral trade reached 2.58 billion USD in 2007. In the first nine months of this year, the figure was 2.44 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 19 percent.

The Southeast Asian country is also Brazil ‘s main investor in naval construction and oil exploration.-

India firm on signing FTA with ASEAN

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – India is committed to the signing of the much-awaited ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, next month, said a top trade official.

“We are ready to sign even though other countries delay it. Only the Philippines is yet to provide their offered list and Thailand may have some problems, they may not gain cabinet approval by that time. But it is okay, they can sign later,” India’s Commerce and Industry Ministry Joint Secretary P.K. Dass was quoted by Malaysia’s news agency (Bernama) as saying.

With political pressure mounting in Thailand, there is a growing concern over whether the Thais could gain the parliament’s approval in time while the Philippines also need to obtain the endorsement of their legislature.

ASEAN members and India are scheduled to sign the FTA on December 17 during the ASEAN-India Summit in the northern city of Chiang Mai.

The FTA is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2009, after which duties levied on at least 80 percent of traded goods would be zero-rated.-