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China assembles missiles near coast facing Taiwan
(Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, April 2, 2002)
China's military is deploying more short-range ballistic missiles near the coast opposite Taiwan, as tensions in the region are increasing over growing U.S. support for the island. . . . The shipment is part of a continuing Chinese missile buildup that has raised questions among senior defense officials about Beijing's announced commitment to seeking a peaceful resolution of its dispute with Taiwan. . . . Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said in an interview with The Washington Times in August that the buildup of missiles near Taiwan has been steady and is destablizing. . . . China's government also was angered by disclosure of a secret U.S. nuclear policy review that said nuclear weapons could be used against China if a conflict over Taiwan broke out. . . . The Pentagon took steps to update its war plans to defend Taiwan last year after President Bush announced the United States would do "whatever it takes" to defend the island from mainland attack. . . . "Where we are right now is that China is capable of causing a great deal of damage to Taiwan, damage that cannot be stopped by the Taiwanese armed forces or by forces of the United States, if they were ordered in," Adm. Blair said.

Bush Hard - Liners See End of N.Korea Accord
(REUTERS, March 29, 2002)
The White House sent a strong message, ruling it could not be sure Pyongyang was adhering to the agreement that was hailed as a landmark on signing eight years ago and aimed to freeze its nuclear weapons program. . . . It was a dramatic break with the administration of former President Bill Clinton, which negotiated the accord called the Agreed Framework to resolve a nuclear crisis with Pyongyang. . . . U.S. officials said administration hard-liners who are most suspicious of Pyongyang see this year's certification decision as a first step toward unraveling the agreement altogether. . . . It occurred after Bush toughened his rhetoric following the Sept. 11 attacks on America and put North Korea in an "axis of evil" with Iran and Iraq, claiming each was intent on developing weapons of mass destruction. . . . "It was a transitional move away from saying, 'Everything is fine.' It's saying, 'Be on notice. You've got a year to go,"' one official said. . . . Bush has given formal notice that the United States will withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and has refused to support ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. He has taken issue with other pacts as well.

 

U.S., South Korea stage war exercises - North Korea calls it “Declaration of War”
(Jong-Heon Lee, UPI, 3/21/2002)
South Korea and the United States on Thursday launched their largest joint military exercises since the Korean War over the protest of North Korea, which termed the exercises a declaration of war. . . . North Korea blasted the drills as preparations for invasion. A North Korean Foreign Ministry statement claimed the exercises were part of "very dangerous war gambles to seize the chance to provoke a nuclear war" targeting the North. . . . Exercises involve the 37,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and parts of U.S. forces from bases around the Pacific region as well as 650,000 South Korean soldiers. . . . U.S. President George Bush dubbed the Pyongyang government part of "an axis of evil" with Iran and Iraq in his January State of the Union address.

 

North Korea Hits Out at U.S. Nuclear Arms Review
(Reuters, March 13, 2002)
North Korea said Wednesday it would react strongly to a nuclear arms review that U.S. newspapers say includes contingency plans for using atomic weapons against seven countries including the communist North. . . . "The DPRK will not remain a passive onlooker to the Bush administration's inclusion of the DPRK in the seven countries, targets of U.S. nuclear attack, but take a strong countermeasure against it," it said. . . . DPRK is the acronym for the country's official title -- the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. . . . "If the U.S. intends to mount a nuclear attack on any part of the DPRK just as it did on Hiroshima, it is grossly mistaken," KCNA said, referring to one of two Japanese cities hit by U.S. atomic bombs at the end of World War Two. . . . "A nuclear war to be imposed by the U.S. nuclear fanatics upon the DPRK would mean their ruin in nuclear disaster." . . . Pyongyang's suspected nuclear weapons program brought it to the brink of conflict with Washington in 1994, before a diplomatic deal was struck to freeze the program in exchange for oil supplies and Western-built nuclear reactors. . . . The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times reported last weekend the Pentagon had conducted a secret nuclear posture review that raised the possibility of developing new types of nuclear arms and described contingency plans for using them against Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and North Korea. . . . North Korea said the latest reports indicated the Bush administration was "working in real earnest to prepare a dangerous nuclear war to bring nuclear disasters to our planet and humankind.


India Stifles Free Speech

Novelist Arundhati Roy Convicted of Contempt
(Nirmala George, Common Dreams News Center, March 7, 2002)
"I am prepared to suffer the consequences," she said. "The message is clear. Any citizen who dares to criticize the court does so at his or her peril." . . . Roy won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel "The God of Small Things." She has written articles criticizing India's nuclear program and is a prominent campaigner against the Narmada Dam, the nation's biggest hydroelectric project. . . . Opposing attorneys in the Narmada case accused her of contempt of court. When the court began considering that, she filed an affidavit suggesting she should not have to appear before the panel. She said it "creates a disturbing impression that there is an inclination on the part of the court to silence criticism and muzzle dissent." . . . Although the contempt charges against her in the original case were dismissed, the Supreme Court itself accused her of contempt for the comments in her affidavit and convicted her Wednesday. . . . A two-judge panel said she was guilty of "scandalizing it and lowering its dignity through her statements." . . . Police detained about 200 protesters at the Supreme Court building Wednesday, saying they would be released later. Many are Narmada Valley residents whose homes could be flooded when the dam is built. . . . Opponents of the project say it will harm small farmers and displace tens of thousands of villagers. Roy donated her Booker Prize winnings - about $30,000 - to the campaign against the dam. . . . Roy's lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, said she will challenge the conviction, calling it a "setback to the freedom of the common citizen to discuss matters of enormous public significance."

Also see: “The Algebra of Infinite Justice” by Arundhati Roy

 


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