Japan, US say 3-way ties with S. Korea are key to security

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) meets with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (L) at the Abe's office in Tokyo on November 12, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 12 November 2019

Japan, US say 3-way ties with S. Korea are key to security

  • Relations between Japan and South Korea in recent months have been their lowest in decades
  • Milley also met with PM Shinzo Abe and Defense Minister Taro Kono

TOKYO: The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, agreed with Japanese officials Tuesday that three-way cooperation with South Korea is key to regional security and that an intelligence sharing pact between Tokyo and Seoul should not be scrapped.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said he told Milley that discord among the three countries would only destabilize the region and benefit North Korea, China and Russia.
“We shared a view that Japan-US-South Korea cooperation is more important now than ever, as we discussed the latest situation related to North Korea, including the North’s latest launch of ballistic missiles,” Motegi said.
He and Milley also agreed on the importance of the Japan-South Korea intelligence sharing pact. Motegi added that Milley promised to convey that message to South Korea during his upcoming visit there.
South Korea has announced plans to scrap the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA, amid disputes with Japan over trade and wartime history.
The deal, which is set to expire later this month, symbolizes the Asian neighbors’ security cooperation with Washington in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat and China’s growing influence. US President Donald Trump’s administration has been exerting last-minute pressure on Japan and South Korea to keep the deal.
Milley also met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Defense Minister Taro Kono, according to the Foreign Ministry and news reports.
Relations between Japan and South Korea in recent months have been their lowest in decades.
Japan has denounced South Korean court rulings that ordered Japanese companies to compensate elderly South Koreans for forced labor during World War II, insisting that all compensation issues were settled by a 1965 treaty normalizing relations between the two countries.
South Korea accuses Tokyo of ignoring its people’s suffering under Japan’s brutal colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, and reacted angrily to Japan’s tightening of controls on key technology exports to South Korea and the downgrading of its trade status.


Bali’s drugged, smuggled orangutan headed back to the wild

Updated 16 December 2019

Bali’s drugged, smuggled orangutan headed back to the wild

  • The case made headlines in March when suspicious authorities stopped Russian trafficker Andrei Zhestkov
  • Zhestkov was later sentenced to a year in prison in July

BALI, Indonesia: A baby orangutan that was drugged by a Russian trafficker in a failed bid to smuggle it out of Bali will be released back into the wild.
The case made headlines in March when suspicious authorities on the Indonesian holiday island stopped Andrei Zhestkov, who was flying back to Russia, and opened his luggage to find a two-year-old orangutan sleeping inside a rattan basket.
Zhestkov, sentenced to a year in prison in July, had packed baby formula and blankets for the orangutan. He was also carrying two live geckos and five lizards inside the suitcase.
On Monday, conservation authorities in Bali rolled out a big fruit plate for fuzzy-haired Bon Bon as he prepares to move to a conservation center in Sumatra — one of just two places where the critically endangered species is found in the wild.
Bon Bon’s caretaker, Ketut Diandika, confessed to being a little bit sad at the ape’s departure.
“I actually want Bon Bon to stay here so that I can still take care of him,” he said.
The Southeast Asian archipelago’s rainforests boast some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and it is a key source and transit point for animal trafficking.
In a separate case at the weekend, officials in Sumatra’s Riau province said they arrested two men, allegedly part of an international trafficking ring, who were attempting to smuggle four lion cubs and a baby leopard from Africa, along with dozens of tortoises.