U.S. President George W. Bush says Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin should not be concerned about U.S. plans to build a missile defense system in Europe. Mr. Bush spoke to reporters after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit at a German Baltic Sea resort (Heiligendamm). President Bush said he looks forward to talks later in the day with Mr. Putin and that he would assure the Russian leader that the United States bears no animosity toword his country. He stressed that the U.S. missile defense system is aimed at preventing attacks from rogue nations -- not Russia
Philippines-US: The U.S. government has awarded 10 million dollars to four men in the Philippines who provided information that led to the deaths of the country's top two terrorist suspects. The men received some of the money in four black bags during a ceremony on the island of Jolo today (Thursday). The U.S. ambassador (Kristie Kenney) also attended the heavily-guarded ceremony.
JAPAN-TAIWAN: Former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui has visited Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine, despite China's objections. Mr. Lee says his visit today (Thursday) was a personal pilgrimage to pay respect to his elder brother. His brother's name is enshrined there because he fought for Japan during World War Two, when Taiwan was a Japanese colony. The shrine honors about two-and-a-half million Japanese war dead, including convicted war criminals. Visits to the shrine by Japanese leaders have strained diplomatic relations with China and South Korea, which say Yasukuni is an offensive reminder of Japan's wartime atrocities.
U.S -Vietnam: Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet will visit the White House later this month for talks with U.S. President George W. Bush. Mr. Triet's visit is set for June 22nd. The White House says the leaders will discuss their countries' trade and economic relationship, cooperation on health and development issues, and cultural and educational relations.
THAILAND-THAKSIN: Thailand's deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says he would like to return to his home country after the military-run government restores democracy. Mr. Thaksin said he would like to live as a "normal citizen" in Thailand, teaching and doing charitable activities. He made the remark in Japan today (Thursday) while announcing his appointment as a guest lecturer at a Tokyo university. He said he expects democracy to return to Thailand soon, noting the military government's plan to hold elections in December and its removal this week of a ban on political party activities.
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