|Asia News Digest
Afghanistan, Pakistan Looking for a Deal with Insurgents
June 19 (EIRNS)The Afghan and Pakistani governments are talking to each other about how to make peace with the insurgent groups fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan, today's Washington Post reports. This apparently began with a previously undisclosed visit to Kabul last month by Pakistani intelligence chief Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, reportedly to discuss with Afghan government officials possible cooperation between the two governments over a wide range of issues. Sometime later, Shuja made a return visit, accompanied by Pakistani Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani. No agreement has been reached, but an unnamed Pakistani security official told the Post that outreach to insurgents is "not a problem."
It might be a problem for Washington, however, because that outreach includes not only the Taliban, but also the insurgent grouping led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, which operates from North Waziristan inside Pakistan, and which the U.S. considers to be too violent to be reconciled with. "We think reconciliation has to have an Afghan face," said one senior U.S. Administration official. He made clear, however, that the U.S. expects to be treated as a "full partner" in this process and to "not be surprised." That means no deal with Haqqani's group. This message has been conveyed to the Pakistanis by Centcom chief Gen. David Petraeus, Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as National Security Advisor Gen. (ret.) James Jones.
U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke arrived in Islamabad for meetings with Pakistani government officials last night. According to an analysis in the Indian daily The Hindu, Holbrooke appeared to be making an effort to dispel any notions of a "trust deficit" between the U.S. and Pakistan. The major development coming out of his press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, was Qureshi's announcement that he was expecting a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in July.
Unspoken in the major news coverage is the fact that there is a growing fear, among both Pakistani and Afghan government officials, that the British and Saudis are preparing to shaft both countries, and create a fundamentalist "Greater Pushtunistan," encompassing southern Afghanistan, the Pakistani North West Frontier Province, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, including Waziristan. This has been a longstanding facet of the 19th- and 20th-centuries British "Great Game" to maintain permanent instability in that crucial part of the world, which is on the ancient Silk Road.
South Korea, Turkey Plan Nuclear Power Plants
June 15 (EIRNS)South Korea President Lee Myung-bak and his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, met in Seoul today and agreed to step up "substantial cooperation" in the energy, construction, and defense industries. The two countries are working toward a nuclear power plant deal and reviewing the feasibility of a free-trade agreement (FTA).
South Korea and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation for the building of two power plants in Turkey's northern region of Sinop. Yoon Sang-jik, Senior Secretary for Knowledge Economy, said that should everything go smoothly, a commercial agreement should be forthcoming for construction of two nuclear power plants in Sinop in late 2011.
At the beginning of the year, after winning a $20 billion contract for four nuclear power reactors in the United Arab Emirates, South Korea announced an export drive aimed 80 reactors by 2030.
UN Security Council on Cheonan Sinking
June 15 (EIRNS)Both North and South Korea presented testimony to the UN Security Council today on the March sinking of the South Korean naval frigate Cheonan. Seoul, backed up by representatives of the other members of the "international investigation" (the U.K., U.S.A., Australia, and Sweden), claimed that a torpedo fragment they discovered in the area matched a North Korean torpedo, and that this and other circumstantial evidence proved that North Korea did it. Russia has expressed its concern that the investigation should have included other interested parties (e.g., Russia and China).
North Korea's UN Ambassador, Sin Son Ho, refuted the charge and repeated Pyongyang's demand to be allowed to investigate the physical evidence. "If the Security Council formally debates this case with only the unilateral 'investigation result' of the South, but without verification by the D.P.R.K. [North Korea], the victim, it will mean that the Security Council takes the side of one party of dispute excluding the other," he added.
Sin pointed to the fact that a U.S./South Korean naval exercise was taking place in the area, with "the deployment of an array of anti-submarine and anti-air assets. Amid these conditions, it is doubtful that a D.P.R.K. small-size submarine attacked the corvette Cheonan, which has anti-submarine capacity," he said. "It is also inconceivable that the U.S. and South Korean warships equipped with state-of-the-art devices failed to detect the submarine."
Thai 'Blacklist' Includes Pakdee Tanapura
June 18 (EIRNS)The police-state government of Abhisit Vijjajiva in Thailand published a "Blacklist" of 83 companies and individuals whose financial accounts have been frozen, pending investigations of their possible funding of Red Shirt anti-government activities. Included on the list is Pakdee Tanapura, a longtime friend of Lyndon LaRouche, who organized conferences in Bangkok for LaRouche and EIR in the early 1980s, on the Kra Canal and the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Pakdee heads an organization promoting the Kra Canal and has become a well-known radio commentator on the Canal, nuclear power, and international political issues, often reflecting LaRouche's views, especially on the perfidious role of the British Empire.
In addition to deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and six members of his family, the list includes 14 leading companies and 62 individuals. Pakdee's printing company does work for many embassies and the UN, and published the Red News throughout the Red Shirt demonstrations. The company was raided by the military soon after the violent crushing of the demonstrations, and Pakdee and his wife, Sophie, were interrogated for four hours, threatened with a charge of "accomplices to terrorism," but released.
Abhisit sent his personal envoy Kiat Sittheeamorn to Washington to try to justify the British-puppet government's violence, and its policy of declaring the Red Shirt leaders (including even illegally deposed Prime Minister Thaksin, whom the Red Shirts support) to be "terrorists," while also gathering lists of "criminals" who dared challenge the monarchical/military dictatorship, for eventual arrest. The "Blacklist" released today is but one of these lists.
EIR attended a private dinner with Kiat, where he arrogantly defended these police-state policies, and equated the declaration that Thaksin and other opposition leaders are "terrorists," with U.S. policies after 9/11. He also said that anyone funding the Red Shirts was criminally liable, that Thaksin would never be allowed to return to politics in Thailand, and that those shown to have promoted a Presidential versus a monarchical system would be subject to arrest.