|Asia News Digest
Asia Times Reports on Zepp-LaRouche, 'Economic Hit Men'
New York-based economist Henry Liu, writing in the Asia Times May 7, quoted two full pages from Helga Zepp-LaRouche's article in the Dec. 10, 2004 EIR, titled, "Unmasking the Secret War by the Economic Hit Men." The extended quote is a review of the assassinations of prominent German businessmen Alfred Herrhausen and Detlev Rohwedder, in the context of the synarchists' use of assassinations historically, with the specific target being the prevention of a policy for developing the nations of the east after the fall of the U.S.S.R., as promoted by both Lyndon LaRouche and former Deutsche Bank chairman Herrhausen.
Bush '41' Adviser Reveals N. Korea Peace Offer to Bush
In a Washington Post op-ed June 22, President George H.W. Bush adviser and former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Donald Gregg, and Korea hand Don Oberdorfer, argued that the current administration must negotiate with North Korea. They reveal for the first time that they had tried to broker a personal deal between North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and the former President three years ago, but the Bush-Cheney Administration spurned the overture. In "A Moment To Seize with North Korea," they begin positively, saying: "North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's remarkable statements to a South Korean envoy last Friday [June 17] present a rare opportunity to move promptly toward ending the dangerous nuclear proliferation crisis in Northeast Asia. The Bush administration should seize the moment."
But making headlines in Korea and around the world is Gregg's revelation that, while in Pyongyang in October 2002 to find out why the U.S. had just ripped up the Clinton peace accords days before, Gregg and Oberdorfer "were given a written personal message from Kim to President Bush." Kim stated if the United States recognized the North's sovereignty and provided non-aggression assurances, "it is our view that we should be able to find a way to resolve the nuclear issue in compliance with the demands of a new century." Kim further promised that, "if the United States makes a bold decision, we will respond accordingly." Gregg and Oberdorfer say they took the message to senior White House and State Department officials and urged them to follow up on Kim's initiative.
The administration, however, planning for the Iraq invasion, "spurned engagement with North Korea," said Gregg. Kim then expelled UN inspectors and withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and reopened plutonium production facilities frozen since 1994. When George W. Bush took office in 2001, the U.S. estimated that Pyongyang had fuel for one or two nuclear weapons. Now, that estimate is up to at least half a dozen, Gregg says, and "many believe their claim."
Hence, Kim's statement June 17 to the South Korean Unification Minister presents a "rare opportunity to move promptly toward ending the dangerous nuclear proliferation crisis in Northeast Asia," Gregg and Oberdorfer write. Kim said he would rejoin the six-nation talks if Washington "recognizes and respects" his country. He also raised the prospect of North Korea rejoining the NPT and readmitting UN nuclear monitors.
Gregg and Oberdorfer insist now that President Bush should "seize the moment" to communicate directly with Kim and consider sending Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill to Pyongyang to prepare for a visit by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "The purpose would be to explore the policies behind Kim's words to determine whether practical arrangements can be made, subject to approval by our partners in the six-nation talks, to end the dangerous North Korean nuclear program," they said.
N. Korea Message to Bush: 'We Hope New Chapter Will Open'
Former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg released to the South Korean press, the text of the letter he carried in November 2002, from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to President George W. Bush. The Yonhap wire of June 22 stated: "The following is the full text of a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to President George Bush in November 2002: 'At a time when positive changes are taking place in the region of Northeast Asia, we hope a new chapter will also open. We believe that the current nuclear issue was generated essentially from the U.S. hostile policy of disregarding our sovereignty and of imposing a blatant military threat.' "
Historic Visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister to U.S.A.
Thirty years after the Vietnam War ended, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai is the first Prime Minister of Vietnam to set foot in the United States. His visit to Washington last week also celebrates the tenth anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries during President Bill Clinton's Administration.
Economics is a leading element in the current talks. President Bush and Prime Minister Khai are to discuss U.S. backing for Vietnam to join the World Trade Organization. The United States is currently the largest trading partner of Vietnam, thanks to the bilateral trade agreement signed four years ago. In 2004, two-way trade was worth $6.4 billion.
In the course of his trip this week, Khai and U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez witnessed the signing of a series of business deals, including a Vietnam Airlines agreement to purchase four Boeing jets for the national airline, valued at $500 million.
In a surprise announcement, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan told the Washington Times that the two sides had signed an agreement for International Military Education and Training (IMET) training aimed at promoting military-to-military relations.
In his meeting with Bush, the Vietnamese Prime Minister said he and the President agreed that "there remain differences between our two countries due to the different conditions that we have, the different histories and cultures. But we also agreed that we should work together through constructive dialogue based upon mutual respect to reduce those differences in order to improve our bilateral relations."
Following the state visit to Washington, Khai invited Bush to Vietnam for a state visit in the context of the 2006 APEC summit, meeting in Vietnam, which Bush accepted.
Rep. Chris Smith, one of the right-wing Congressmen who are still fighting the Vietnam War, held hearings during Khai's visit to voice human rights complaints against the Vietnamese government.
Philippines Congress Convenes 'Gloria-Gate' Hearing
The Philippine House of Representatives is holding nationally televised hearings into tapes that have surfaced, apparently showing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo conspiring to fix last year's Presidential election. The tapes were originally released by President Arroyo's spokesman Ignacio Bunye, to preempt their release by the opposition. Bunye acknowledged that the voice on the tape was President Arroyo, talking to the head of the election commission, Virgilio Garcilliano, about fixing the election, during the counting process in May 2004. Bunye said at that time the tapes had been doctored.
Bunye was the first witness in the hearings, starting June 21, and he is backtracking like mad, claiming he can't say for sure if the voice is that of the President (she is saying nothing at all, and will not appear at the hearings).
Election Commission head Garcilliano is in hiding, reported by former Senator Kit Tatad to have fled to New Jersey on orders of the administration. Samuel Ong, former deputy chief of the National Bureau of Intelligence (NBI), who claims to be the source of the tapes (via military intelligence sources), sent his lawyer to say he is in hiding and fears for his life.
The National Police are on full alert status nationwide, as several mass demonstrations have been held.
Millennium Goals Elusive for Many Asian Nations
The President of Asian Development Bank warned that many Asian countries may fail to meet the Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty within a decade, President Haruhiko Kuroda told a meeting at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. June 23.
He warned, "By 2015, the region is still expected to account for about one-half of the world's poor." He said Asia now has two-thirds of the world's poorest people700 millionliving on less than a dollar a day.
Kuroda, who was a former special adviser to the Japanese cabinet, said it was critical to step up efforts to include all Asians and all Asian countries in the region's growth"to ensure nobody is left behind."
The Millennium Development Goals call for reducing the proportion of people living on less than one dollar a day to half the 1990 level by 2015from 27.9% of all people in low- and middle-income economies, to 14.0%.
The Goals also call for halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, between 1990 and 2015.
He said 71% of all the world's people without access to improved sanitation, and nearly six out of every ten people who lacked safe water, lived in Asia.
In addition, more than half of the world's undernourished, and of those living in slums, lived in Asia, while 43 out of every 100 children who died before reaching age five were born in Asia.
Citing South Asia, he said it "has more undernourished people, more people without access to proper sanitation, and more people living in slum conditions than Sub-Saharan Africa." East Asia and the Pacific have more people without access to safe water and sanitation, and more people living in slums than Sub-Saharan Africa, he added.