Archive | August, 2015

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Inter-Korean tensions fade

Posted on 31 August 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-08-2015


Cross-border tensions further abated over the weekend as North Korea accepted the South’s offer to hold bilateral Red Cross talks on September 7 to arrange the reunions of separated families, with each military seen readjusting their readiness posture to a precrisis level.

On Saturday, a day after Seoul proposed the Red Cross talks, Pyongyang agreed to hold them to determine the time, venue and the scale of reunions at South Korea’s Peace House in the truce village of Panmunjeom, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry.

The talks were arranged four days after the two Koreas agreed to hold the working-level talks early next month. After the four-day marathon talks last Tuesday, the two agreed to seek the reunions on the occasion of Chuseok, a major Korean holiday that falls on September 27.

The family reunions are expected to be held in early October given preparatory procedures including a survey of the surviving members of the separated families. The reunions have not been held since February 2014 amid high cross-border tensions.

Pyongyang’s relatively easy acceptance of the proposal for the Red Cross talks signaled its will to mend fences with Seoul, observers said. In the past, Pyongyang often made counterproposals to reject Seoul’s offers of dialogue or unilaterally canceled the talks.

Last Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un indicated his desire to improve ties with the South, evaluating the agreement of the latest high-level talks as a “significant turning point” to bring cross-border relations on a path toward reconciliation and trust.

Amid the emergent mood for dialogue, the two Koreas were seen downgrading their vigilance posture to a peacetime level.

As agreed upon during last week’s high-level talks, Pyongyang has lifted its “quasi-state of war” and reportedly withdrawn its special vigilance directives. Seoul has also revised downward its military readiness posture, according to reports.

Despite these positive developments, Seoul officials cautioned against excessive optimism over the prospects of inter-Korean ties, noting that a series of pending issues could derail the two neighbors’ reconciliatory and trust-building efforts.

“We never know what would happen during the future talks with the North. We are not yet at the stage to predict (a positive development of inter-Korean relations), and we thus maintain a calm position,” a senior Seoul official told media.

Indeed, a number of tough issues including Pyongyang’s unceasing pursuit of nuclear arms are expected to fuel cross-border tensions. In particular, the issue of the lifting of Seoul’s so-called May 24 sanctions against Pyongyang remains a daunting challenge with both sides refusing to budge.

Seoul is adamant in its position that should it want the sanctions to be lifted, Pyongyang should apologise for its 2010 torpedo attack on the corvette Cheonan that killed 46 sailors, while Pyongyang continues to deny its responsibility.

Apart from the pending issues, the North’s possible additional provocations could bring the two Koreas back on a collision course. 

Analysts presume that the reclusive state could set off provocations such as a long-range rocket launch around October 10, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, to strengthen its internal unity and show off its military presence to the outside world.


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BANGKOK BLAST: More attacks may have been planned, police say

Posted on 31 August 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-08-2015


Turkish embassy says arrested man is not their citizen; suspect has lived in Nong Chok since June


The foreign suspect arrested by police on Saturday for his alleged link to the August 17 bombing of the Erawan Shrine moved into Pool Anant Apartment in Bangkok’s Nong Chok district sometime in June along with another foreigner believed to be Turkish, according to the building supervisor.

Thanakorn Wiwannakorn, 60, who has been the apartment’s supervisor for over a decade, told police the 28-year-old suspect and his friend were quiet and mostly stayed inside their room on the fourth floor. 

Other apartment tenants said one of them had a dark complexion, coming and going at regular hours, while the other hardly left the room and apparently got a haircut and shaved his beard a few weeks ago.

A source at the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) said military and police officials questioned the suspect on Saturday night and recorded the whole interrogation. They intend to question him more about renting the apartment room, bomb equipment and fake passports found in the room.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Embassy said the suspect arrested on Saturday was not a Turkish national.

Yesterday, police searched an apartment in Nong Chok after receiving a tip that two suspicious foreigners resided there. The apartment was identified as Ton Koon Mansion on Soi Chuam Samphun 3, near Pool Anant Apartment.

Earlier, police found two bags of urea fertiliser and other bomb-making ingredients at Mai-moo-na Garden, in nearby Min Buri district.

Police found no additional suspects at these locations. 

Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda said police believe several suspects in the network were involved in the deadly bombing at Erawan Shrine, and that they were also connected with the attack on the pier near Sathorn Bridge the following day. A team consisting of four or five investigators is working on this case and they urged the public to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement.

Meanwhile, police believe the Shrine bomb suspect was prepared to carry out more attacks in other locations, judging from evidence found in his room.

According to Police spokesman Pol Lt-General Prawut Thawornsiri, evidence found inside the suspect’s room included detonating chords similar to the detonating chord found at the related blast at the pier near Sathorn Bridge.

The August DZ bombing at the Erawan Shrine at Ratchaprasong intersection, a popular tourist destination, killed 20 people including foreign visitors and injured 171 others. The attack at the pier near Sathorn Bridge the following day resulted in no casualties. 

The bombing suspect is being detained for questioning at the Infantry Battalion of the 11th Army Circle under martial law.

Prawut said it was not yet clear if the suspect was responsible for the attack at the Erawan Shrine or the pier near Sathorn Bridge but police believe he was a member of the network responsible for those attacks.

He said police were waiting for the results of a DNA test from a banknote the bomber used to pay his taxi fare and other samples found in the taxi.

Prawut said the suspect denied that he was a collaborator in the bomb attack. He had told police how he came into the country but police did not believe him.

Prawut denied reports that the suspect travelled from Istanbul and came to Thailand via Vietnam and Laos, saying police initially found the suspect stayed in an Asian country before travelling to Thailand. 

Prawut said the police obtained pictures of other members of the gang and were checking their identities and nationalities. Immigration officials have been instructed to prevent other suspected gang members from leaving the country.

Police have not ruled out other possible motives for the bomb attack though they believe that it could be a personal vendetta after police crackdowns on foreigners.

Police also found evidence from a signal on the suspect’s phone that he travelled to a location that was linked to the bomb attack. Prawut declined to say if that location was Hua Lam Phong train station, where the bomb suspect was seen hailing a tuk-tuk to take him to Erawan Shrine.

Prawut said a taxi driver was summoned for questioning several times because he gave conflicting statements that contradicted evidence. The telephone information also showed that the taxi driver contacted the suspect several times.

After the suspect was arrested on Saturday, the Turkish government sent a letter pledging to give Thailand its full support to fight terrorism. 


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Bersih 4 ends as it began – peacefully

Posted on 31 August 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-08-2015


The Bersih 4 rally wrapped up peacefully and ended with protesters moving on to celebrate National Day on the fringes of Merdeka Square.

The 34-hour gathering brought together tens of thousands of people, mostly clad in yellow, and although the crowd on the second day was bigger than the first, yesterday’s gathering was more relaxed with a larger presence of families and a carnival-like atmosphere.

The hands-off approach by the police probably helped.

City police chief Comm Tajuddin Md Isa said the protesters complied with police instructions and there were only a few isolated incidents, including the burning of a protester’s vehicle.

“Except for other minor flashes which were quickly defused, there was no major problem,” he said.

Throughout the rally, participants raised banners, the national flag and sang songs.

Mini stages were set up close to one another near Merdeka Square for speeches by political leaders, social figures and members of the public. Those who chose to stay overnight camped out in tents, sleeping bags and cardboard boxes along the streets.

Despite claiming to be a non-partisan rally, PKR’s rallying cries of â€�Reformasi” (reformation) were heard and a large banner with the image of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was carried around.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad made a second visit to the Bersihń rally, this time at Central Market.

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah, who called an end to the rally, said they had made their point.

“We were allowed to gather and say what we want and felt and we were undeterred by the police.”

Towards the end of the second night, the crowd sang “Terima kasih abang police” (thank you police), applauding the men in blue for carrying out their duty well.

Rallies were also held in several major towns across the country.

The two-day event went peacefully in Malacca, Ipoh, Butterworth, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, but several people were arrested in Malacca for donning the yellow Bersih 4.0 T-shirt.

They were brought to the Melaka Tengah police station to have their statement recorded and were later released. But their T-shirts were seized.

In Butterworth, about 200 people gathered outside the Sunway Carnival Shopping Mall in Seberang Jaya. Several auxiliary policemen from the mall were spotted at the scene yesterday.

In Sungai Petani, about 500 people rallied in front of the Sungai Petani Clock Tower in Jalan Ibrahim on Saturday night.

In Kota Kinabalu, the rally took on a carnival-like atmosphere at Likas Bay Park.

Protesters carrying Malaysian and Sabah flags, apart from placards, started their walk along the jogging track until they came to a police block. The walk was called off and the protesters dispersed.

In Kuching, the rally ended early but organisers were nevertheless pleased with the turnout.


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Pakistan high court to decide whether juveniles can be executed for terrorism

Posted on 31 August 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-08-2015


Ever since Pakistan’s Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO) 2000 was promulgated during the military government of retired General Pervez Musharraf, the issues related to juvenile offenders continue to surface in the superior courts.

The latest controversy is whether in the presence of JJSO, a military court could try a civilian who was below 18 at the time of commission of an alleged offence and whether he could be sentenced to death as the same is prohibited by the ordinance.

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on August 25 stayed the execution of a “juvenile” who was convicted by a military court of terrorism and sentenced to death.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Ms Mussarat Hilali and Justice Mohammad Younas Taheem directed the federal government to produce record of his case on September 1, the next date fixed of hearing after a writ petition filed by Bacha Laiqa, mother of the convict Haider Ali.

The petitioner referred to several grounds on the basis of which she requested the high court to set aside conviction of her son and refer his case to a regular court. The petitioner also claimed that her son was a child as per definition of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000 as he was below 15 years of age when he was handed over to the security forces in 2009.

According to the documents submitted by the petitioner along with her petition, convict Haider Ali was a brilliant student who had passed his ninth grade board examination in “A” grade by securing 388 of 525 marks.

It was claimed that according to his attendance sheet he was regularly attending his 10th grade classes at the Malakand High School, Sersenai, Kabal tehsil, in Swat.

The petitioner claimed that her son was born on Dec 1, 1994. He was allegedly handed over to the security forces by the family in the presence of members of a local hearing on Sept 21, 2009, which happened to be the day of Eid.

The petitioner alleged that the security officer concerned had made commitment that her son would be set free soon, but that commitment was not fulfilled.

So far it has not been known when and under what specific charges Haider Ali was tried and subsequently convicted.

The ISPR had on April 2, 2015 made a short announcement that the Army Chief had confirmed the convictions and sentences of death awarded to six terrorists by military courts.

The statement did not mention the names of those convicts nor stated when their trials were conducted.

Later, the media reported that the six convicts were identified as Noor Saeed, Haider Ali, Murad Khan, Inayatullah, Israruddin and Qari Zahir.

The military courts have been established after the passage of 21st Amendment and subsequent amendments in the Army Act for trying suspected terrorists.

The amendments were challenged before the Supreme Court, which dismissed all the petitions against them on August 5.

Under Section 2 (b) of the JJSO a child means a person who at the time of commission of an offence has not attained the age of 18 years. Similarly, under Section 12 no child shall be awarded punishment of death.

Experts continue to debate whether a juvenile could be tried by an anti-terrorism court or not.

Supporters of JJSO believe that it is a special law and in its presence a child offender shall be exclusively tried by the juvenile court.

Due to the same reason, they argue that a few years ago an ordinance was promulgated through which the anti-terrorism court was also granted powers of a juvenile court.

However, the said ordinance had lapsed after its constitutional life of four months.

Some of the experts are of the opinion that certain amendments were made to the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 in 2005 following which it was the exclusive jurisdiction of an ATC to try offences under that law.

Section 21 G of the ATA states: “All offences under this Act shall be tried exclusively by the Anti-Terrorism Court established under this Act.” The word “exclusively” was added to the said section in 2005.

Now, the issue of a military court trying a juvenile offender has also surfaced. It has to be seen what stance the federal government adopts on this point.

Furthermore, it is not clear whether the government would accept Haider Ali as a juvenile offender or it will rebut that argument with some documentary evidence.

Experts believe that the superior courts should decide about the controversial issues related to the juvenile offenders once and for all.

The courts may also decide whether under extraordinary circumstances a juvenile can be awarded death sentence or not.


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Military deserters in S. Korea down 40% in three years

Posted on 31 August 2015 by admin

» Other News

 JAKARTA : Indonesia VP calls on police to understand roots of conflicts

 BANGKOK: BANGKOK BLAST: Thai police hunt two bombing suspects after weekend raids

 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan high court to decide whether juveniles can be executed for terrorism

 HCM CITY: Mekong sees medical specialist shortage

 KARACHI: Pakistan to launch registration drive for Afghan refugees next month

 ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON: US calls for tough action against Haqqani network

 BUTTERWORTH: BANGKOK BLAST: M’sian survivor seeks closure

 DHAKA: Families of Bangladesh victims of enforced disappearance fail to hold meeting

� SINGAPORE: S’pore eases ban on entry for foreigners with HIV

 BEIJING: China removes death penalty for nine crimes

● TAIPEI: Former Taiwan VP’s trip to China starts off with protests

 SEOUL: Chaebol face calls to testify at Assembly

 BANGKOK: BANGKOK BLAST: Suspect ‘not cooperative’

 KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 4 ends as it began – peacefully


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� JAKARTA: Workers to rally in Jakarta on Tuesday

� KUALA LUMPUR: Noticeable Malay absence at KL Bersih rally

 BANGKOK: BANGKOK BLAST: More attacks may have been planned, police say

 SINGAPORE: S’pore eases ban on entry for foreigners with HIV

 KATHMANDU: Nepal govt ignores UNHRC recommendations

 BANGKOK: Thailand calls for stricter moves on Nigerian drug traffickers

 DHAKA: Twenty-four Bangladeshis likely dead in Mediterranean Sea

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BANGKOK BLAST: Thai police hunt two bombing suspects after weekend raids

Posted on 31 August 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-08-2015


Police probing Thailand’s deadliest bombing issued arrest warrants on Monday for two suspects after a raid on a suburban apartment block uncovered possible bomb-making materials.

Police were hunting for a 26-year-old Thai woman and a foreign man in his 40s after a weekend search on a property in the Min Buri district uncovered fertilizer, digital watches and an explosives detonator, police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said on TV.

That came after a raid on an apartment in the nearby Nong Chok district on Saturday, when police arrested a foreigner and seized explosives and stacks of passports.

The August಑ attack on a Bangkok Hindu shrine killed 20 people and injured more than 100.

Fourteen foreigners, seven from mainland China and Hong Kong, were among those killed in a blast the junta said was intended to cripple an already flagging economy.

“We have expanded our search to various residential building after the arrest of one suspect,” Prawut said.

A picture of the female suspect showed her wearing a hijab. She rented the room occupied by the foreign man, for whom police issued the second arrest warrant, Prawut said.

A sketch of the man showed him with short hair and stubble. Police have been criticised for an erratic investigation that had, until this weekend, uncovered few clues about who was behind the blast. No group has claimed responsibility.

Security forces raided the bright pink low-budget apartment in Min Buri twice, once on Saturday and again on Sunday.

Police allowed media to observe as they searched rooms on Sunday while residents, many of them Muslim, were present. In some rooms, possessions were spread out on the floor.

Police have not confirmed the identity or nationality of the 28-year-old man they arrested on Saturday in Nong Chok. Many Thai Muslims and foreigners live in the district dotted with colleges, factories, rice paddies and mosques.

He is charged with possessing illegal explosives.

Police have since the weekend mentioned an unspecified network they are tracking via cellphones, but have provided no details about the group.

Since the bombing, speculation had focused on groups that could have the motive and capability to carry it out.

These have included southern ethnic Malay insurgents, opponents of the military government, foreign militant groups and sympathisers of Uighur Muslims. Thailand forcibly repatriated more than 100 Uighurs to China last month, prompting international outrage.

Many of the minority Uighurs from China’s far west have sought passage to Turkey via Southeast Asia.


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Indonesia VP calls on police to understand roots of conflicts

Posted on 31 August 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-08񮖯


Indonesia Vice President Jusuf Kalla has called on the national police to understand the roots of conflict in Indonesia, saying that failures to understand what initially lead to the conflict will make it hard to resolve the current issues.

“Police officers and military personnel have quite different tasks. The police should protect and serve the people. To carry out these tasks, the police must be able to understand the root causes of conflict and the particular conditions in which it is likely to happen,” Kalla said as quoted by Antara news agency at the Vice Presidential Office in Jakarta.

He was speaking in front of high-ranking National Police officers currently participating in the police’s High Staff and Command School (Sespimti).

Kalla further said that Indonesia was safer than other countries marred by conflict, such as Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines and Middle Eastern countries.

He said, however, that there were some reasons why several conflicts in Indonesia had never been completely resolved and tended to be protracted.

The vice president said that during the last 70 years after it declared its independence, Indonesia experienced 15 big conflicts, in which more than 1,000 people lost their lives.

The conflicts included an Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) coup in Madiun, East Java, on Sept 18, 1948, the South Maluku Republic (RMS) separatist movement, the DI/TII (Darul Islam/Tentara Islam Indonesia) insurgency, the PRRI/Permesta affair and other conflicts that broke out in Aceh, East Timor, Maluku, Papua and Poso.

“The Madiun coup was triggered by a communist plot to take over Indonesia while the RMS revolt was a separatist movement. The DI/TII and Permesta affairs were also caused by ideology-related issues. Except those rebellions, most conflicts, such as those which had occurred in Aceh, Ambon or Poso, were triggered by political, social and economic injustice. People in those conflict areas thought that they were blessed by abundant natural resources but little progress could be achieved,” said Kalla.

“This is our duty. If we want to avoid such conflicts from happening again in the future, we must maintain justice in this country and to that end we need to understand on why a conflict occurs in a society,” said the vice president.

He said there were misunderstandings about the root causes of conflict in Indonesia. Many people thought that conflicts in certain areas such as Aceh and Poso were triggered by religious issues but in fact these conflicts, he claimed, were the result of injustices.

“The question is why have there been so many religious conflicts in Indonesia? I think this is simply because people easily get involved in religious-related conflicts and it takes quite a long time for such conflicts to be resolved,��� said Kalla.

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BANGKOK BLAST: Suspect ‘not cooperative’

Posted on 31 August 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-08-2015


The foreigner arrested on suspicion of involvement in the deadly August 17 bombing is not cooperating with investigators, Thai police said.

As the 28-year-old is believed to be part of a network, the security agencies are expanding their hunt, based on mobile phone records, for others behind the blast that killed 20 people, 12 of them foreigners.

Yesterday, police searched another house in the Minburi district, close to where last Saturday’s arrest took place, and found more bomb- making materials.

Security agencies downplayed the view held by many analysts that the blast was an act of international terrorism, saying that while no motive is being ruled out, the man who was arrested could be part of a people-smuggling group, acting in a feud.

“Security forces have always been reluctant to define something as terrorism, for domestic and international political reasons,” said Professor Panitan Wattanayagorn, an adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, General Prawit Wongsuwan.

“But there is no reason really not to call this terrorism,” he acknowledged.

The suspect is being held for possessing illegal explosives. The haul found at his rented apartment was “staggering”, said a source familiar with the investigation.

It included bomb-making materials such as pipes and fuses, ball bearings of the type used in the August 17 bomb and, according to a picture released by police, at least one explosive belt of the kind used in suicide bomb attacks. Stacks of fake Turkish passports were also found.

The source said the area where the suspect stayed, in the eastern outskirts of Bangkok, is a “staging point for Uighurs going to Malaysia or Turkey”.

Of the foreigners killed on August 17, most were ethnic Chinese, though of different nationalities.

Security analysts speculate that the blast was a possible revenge attack by extremist Uighur elements in retaliation for Thailand’s deportation last month of more than 100 Uighurs to China, which drew widespread outrage.

The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority in China’s restive Xinjiang region.

At a press conference yesterday, a regime spokesman, Colonel Winthai Suvaree, made only a brief statement, then showed film clips of normal life and security officers checking people at border posts.

Analysts see the reluctance to use the “terrorism” label as aimed at protecting the local tourism sector.

China, too, is reluctant to link the blast to the Thai regime’s acquiescence to its deportation requests, said one analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity. That would be admitting the deportation triggered a deadly backlash.

Said the source familiar with the investigation: “The facts speak for themselves – the scale, venue, the identity of those killed, the ethnic origin of the suspect. You don’t have to be a terrorism expert to draw a conclusion.”

Denial would only mislead the international community as well as Thailand’s own security agencies, analysts warn.

“While Thailand should be commended for its initial breakthrough in the investigation, Bangkok must understand that the threat is persistent. No country, including Thailand, should deny the reality of the terrorist threat in Southeast Asia,” Singapore-based security specialist Rohan Gunaratna said.

“The impact of the terrorist attack in Bangkok needs to be harnessed… to strengthen their counter-terrorism capabilities. Rather than denying (that it is terrorism), it is in the long-term interests of Thailand and the region for Bangkok to engage (with)… counter-terrorism partners and address gaps and loopholes.”

Deputy police chief Jakthip Chaijinda yesterday urged the media to “have confidence in the state officials, in the military, police”.

“We are not going to risk our team, our nation and our country to (find) a scapegoat to close this case. There are many parties, many organisations watching,” he said.

“Contrary to what critics say, the Thai police actually do a very good job; they are not flashy but they plod and prod,” the source told The Straits Times. “There may be little understanding of the broader picture, but it is robust police work.”

However, he warned that the bombing had changed the situation. “Now they must allow their professional, good officers – and there are many – to work free of any political interference. It is in the Thais’ own interests that there should be no political spin.”

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Former Taiwan VP’s trip to China starts off with protests

Posted on 31 August 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-08-2015


Former Taiwan Vice President Lien Chan  was welcomed by Zhang Zhijun, head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) yesterday upon his arrival at the Beijing Hotel.

Lien is scheduled to visit the Diaoyutai State Guest House today to meet with Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Accompanying Lien to the hotel was his wife, Lien Fang-yu, New Party chairman Yu Mu-ming, former Kuomintang (KMT) vice chairman Lin Feng-cheng, and Ting Yuan-chao, the director of Lien’s office.

Lien’s aide Chang Jung-kung bore the brunt of protests prior to the trip, which is to include talks with mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping and attendance at a mainland military parade.

Press representatives and protesters surrounded Chang in a terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, as Lien did not take part in interviews before boarding the plane that would take him and his team to China.

A protester draped a banner with slogans printed on it over Chang, while another protester threw a shoe at the aide. The shoe did not injure Chang.

Chang strove to emphasise the main points that Lien will cover in talks with Xi: “reciprocity and dignity.”

“The commemoration parade is an important event for the Chinese nation, and is also held at the international level” Chang said. “We will make appropriate statements at the event.”

“China has its own historical account of the war against the Japanese forces in World War II. Dialogue would be a better approach than releasing opposing statements,” Chang stated.

Responding to President Ma Ying-jeou’s disapproval, which was expressed yesterday, Chang maintained that “both sides could achieve the same goals,” to empower Taiwan, “but through different methods.”

The military parade, which Lien will attend on September 3, is held in celebration of the end of World War II. Lien will also meet with Xi on September 1.

The wrong message: Tsai

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate and chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen stated her own disapproval of Lien’s attendance at China’s military parade during an election rally event held by her supporters in the dentistry industry.

“It goes against the Taiwanese people’s social perceptions,” Tsai said, denouncing the former Republic of China vice president for his actions.

She also stated how Lien’s attendance could send the “wrong messages” to other countries.

Citing the differing interpretation of historical events between the mainland and Taiwan as the main reason for the debate over attending China’s commemoration parade, Tsai also stated that mainland China has yet to give up the threat of military action against Taiwan.

Apart from holding the military parade event, the DPP presidential hopeful also implored China to heed neighbouring Asian countries’ expectations of regional peace and security.

Tsai expressed her hopes of seeing China realise that all countries in the region should “take the responsibility” for safety and peace.

KMT chairman and New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu side-stepped DPP New Taipei City councillors’ questions over how the KMT lacked “aggressive methods” to stop Lien attending the military parade.

Chu simply rebuffed the questions, asking “Do I have to respond to each councillor’s statements?”



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Chaebol face calls to testify at Assembly

Posted on 31 August 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-08-2015


More big business leaders than ever are expected to appear at the annual parliamentary audit session that starts September 4, with lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties calling for chaebol reform. 

It has become an annual ritual to see business tycoons subpoenaed at the National Assembly, but more high-profile business leaders are facing calls to appear this year, amid negative public sentiment toward chaebol. 

At the top of the list is Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin, as doubts are snowballing about the retail giant’s shady governance structure following a recent mud-slinging family feud.

Bipartisan panel members from the National Assembly’s National Policy Committee said they would seek to call in Lotte founder Shin Kyuk-ho and his two sons — Shin Dong-joo and Shin Dong-bin. 

Other parliamentary committees, including the Trade, Industry and Energy Committee, were also considering questioning the Lotte leadership.

Members of the Health and Welfare Committee are discussing plans to subpoena Samsung Group heir-apparent and Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong for a Samsung-owned hospital’s mishandling of the Middle East respiratory syndrome that claimed 36 lives in Korea. 

The Land, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee is also reportedly reviewing a plan to ask Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho to testify about his eldest daughter Cho Hyun-ah’s “nut rage” incident. The daughter, a former Korean Air executive, was jailed for 143 days for assaulting crew members and disrupting the plane’s operation over the way a pack of macadamia nuts was served in the first-class cabin. Â�

Other high-profile business figures facing calls from the Assembly include Shinsegae Group vice chairman Chung Yong-jin, Pigeon CEO Lee Joo-yeon and Kumho Tire president Kim Chang-kyu. 

CEOs in the telecom sector could also be subjected to the lawmakers’ audit. The Information and Communications Technology Committee at the Assembly wants to grill the CEOs of the nation’s top three telecom carriers — SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus — on their marketing activities to attract customers.

With the final list of the witnesses scheduled to be confirmed this week, ruling and opposition parties have clashed over the scope of witnesses to be called.  

Opposition parties are upping the offensive to take the audit session as the starting point of reform of chaebol, South Korean family-controlled conglomerates.  

â��We should ask ourselves whether fair opportunities are given in Korea,” said Rep. Park Young-sun of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy.

But the ruling Saenuri Party has been cautious about the calls of big business leaders, saying that disgracing chaebol owners in public doesn’t help solving fundamental problems. 

“Subpoenas should be limited to the minimum. We would not seek to humiliate witnesses,” said Rep. Kim Jeong-hoon, head of the party’s policy planning committee.


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