Friday, May 29, 2009

ASEAN, EU foreign ministers to condemn N. Korean nuclear test

By Puy Kea
PHNOM PENH, May 28 Kyodo
oreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union who are in Phnom Penh for a two-day meeting will send a strong message Thursday condemning North Korea for its recent underground nuclear test and missiles launch, an ASEAN diplomat said.
The diplomat quoted a draft co-chairmen's statement to be released late Thursday as saying, ''Bearing in mind the need to maintain peace and stability in the region and the international nonproliferation regime, the ministers condemned the recent underground nuclear test and missiles launches undertaken by ( North Korea ).'' It claims Pyongyang 's moves ''constitute clear and continued violations'' of the six-party agreement and the relevant resolutions and decisions by the U.N. Security Council. ''Ministers strongly urged the DPRK to comply fully with the UNSC resolutions and decisions and refrain from further actions which could exacerbate the situation.'' DPRK is the acronym for North Korea 's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea .
The condemnation of North Korea by ASEAN and the European Union comes amid mass condemnations from around the globe, including by the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Japan and South Korea who are now considering financial sanctions in a resolution they are working out in response to North Korea 's second nuclear test.
Cambodia is co-chair with the Czech Republic , as the current EU president, of the 17th ASEAN-Europe Ministerial Meeting, a forum for direct dialogue among the 10 ASEAN members and the 27 countries in the European Union. The two-day gathering began Wednesday to focus on the global economic crisis, political security, climate change, food and energy security, terrorism and transnational crimes.
In opening remarks, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said, ''In my view, there is no doubt that the convening of this ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting is very much timely and highly relevant when our two regions, let alone the world at large, are confronted by numerous global challenges, in particular the current international economic and financial crisis.'' The foreign ministers also are touching on Myanmar .
''In the light of the concern about the recent developments relating to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the ministers exchanged views on the issue. In this regard, the ministers called for the early release of those under detention and the lifting of restrictions placed on political parties,'' the diplomat cited the draft statement as saying. The ministers also took note of the briefing by Myanmar on the recent internal developments and Myanmar 's emphasis on noninterference in its internal affairs, he added.
In a 14-minute presentation, Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Maung Myint rejected the meeting's criticism. ''The legal accusations against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and (the American) Mr. John William Yettaw are internal legal issues and are not political and human rights issues, so we don't accept the pressure and interference from abroad. I expect the 'excellencies' from abroad, especially the EU, to get more understanding about Myanmar ,'' he said.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sale of Pol Pot belongings attracts 'ghost' money bid

Belongings of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot that are up for sale have attracted a single bid of $790,000 in fake money, a local newspaper reported Thursday.
     According to the report in the English-language Phnom Penh Post, Pok Leak Reasey offered to buy the pair of shoes and two cameras with $790,000 in ghost money used in funeral rites in many parts of Asia.
     ''The reason why I've offered the money in ghost notes is because I want to say that all material remaining from the regime is worth nothing,'' Pok Leak Reasey was quoted as saying by the paper.
     Pok Leak Reasey lost eight members of his family during the regime, including his father, grandparents and siblings.
     The seller of the belongings, a former photographer at Tuol Sleng prison, Nhem En, said he was not angry with the offer, but is still offering the belongings with a starting price of $1 million, according to the report.
     As many as 16,000 men, women and children are believed to have been tortured at Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh before being executed.
     The prison's chief, Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, is currently on trial at a U.N.-assisted genocide tribunal, while four other senior former Khmer Rouge leaders will be tried sometime next year.
     Pol Pot died in 1998.
May 21, 2009