NOKOR NUCLEAR: A senior U.S. envoy says North Korea is cooperating with foreign experts to disable its nuclear weapons making facilities and should be able to complete the process by the end of this year. After arriving at Seoul's international airport today (Tuesday) from North Korea, Sung Kim said the team was off to a good start. Kim is the State Department's top expert on Korea and he traveled with nuclear experts to North Korea last week. The process of disabling facilities at the North's Yongbyon nuclear complex began on Monday.
BURMA: Foreign diplomats in Burma have been summoned to its remote capital of Naypyidaw to meet with U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari who is attempting to end the country's political crisis. Diplomats in Burma said they were invited to meet with Gambari on Wednesday, but gave little information regarding the agenda for the gathering. Gambari arrived in Burma on Saturday and has been holding talks with the country's military rulers since his arrival.
CHINA-US: Taiwan has asked the United States to clarify a Pentagon statement calling an upcoming referendum on U.N. membership an "independence referendum." Taiwan's ministry of foreign affairs asked Washington to clarify the statement, which was released Monday as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Beijing. The ministry says the March referendum is supported by the majority of the people of Taiwan and expresses their desire to participate in the international community. Taiwan denies that it is holding a referendum for independence.
WORLD HEALTH: The head of the World Health Organization says patients in poor countries should not be denied medicine needed to treat diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS because of cost concerns. Director-General Margaret Chan made the comment Monday at the opening of a week-long conference to address problems facing developing nations. She said many sick people in developing countries die because they cannot afford medicine that can cure them. In some cases, she said resistance to diseases develops because patients are not treated promptly and properly.
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