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South Korea calls Japan visit to North Korea 'unhelpful' SEOUL: South Korea Thursday criticised an "unhelpful" visit to North Korea by a senior aide to Japan's prime minister, saying it weakened the united front needed to deal with Pyongyang.Isao Iijima arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday on a visit that clearly surprised both Seoul and Washington, which have been working closely with Tokyo on coordinating North Korea policy.South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young said it was "important" that the US and its two close allies continue to work in tandem."In that sense, we think that the visit by Iijima to North Korea is unhelpful," Cho said. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has refused to comment on the purpose of Iijima's trip.But Abe said that he would consider meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un if it could help resolve the longstanding issue of Pyongyang's kidnapping of Japanese citizens.The North's state media said Iijima held talks Wednesday with Kim Yong-Il, secretary ...

Five seriously injured in Nepal plane crash KATHMANDU: A small plane carrying 18 passengers skidded off the runway of a high-altitude airport on Thursday and plunged into a river in northwestern Nepal seriously injuring five, a police spokesman said.The government-run Nepal Airlines Twin Otter aircraft crashed into Kali Gandaki river in the Annapurna mountain range, police spokesman Keshav Adhikari said, adding that all on board were injured."At 8:30 am (0245 GMT) the plane was landing at the Jomsom airport in Mustang district ...
FDI into China creeps up: commerce ministry BEIJING: Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China rose marginally in April, the government announced on Thursday, as investment into the giant from the rest of Asia remained largely static.Incoming FDI, which excludes financial sectors, was up a mere 0.4 percent year-on-year in April to $8.44 billion, the commerce ministry said, while the figure for the first four months of 2013 rose 1.21 percent to $38.34 billion.The vast majority of it comes from a group of ...
Japan economy grows again, points to recovery TOKYO: Japan said Thursday that its economy grew again in the quarter to March, pointing to a recovery as Tokyo and its hand-picked central bank team set about stoking the world's third-largest economy.The 0.9 percent on-quarter growth -- or 3.5 percent on an annualised basis if the data were stretched over a year -- confirmed Japan's exit from recession as consumers spent more, although the nation's cautious firms did not follow suit.The data were seen ...
Indonesia says poor training caused Bali sea crash JAKARTA: Indonesian authorities blamed poor training for a crash in which a rookie pilot undershot the runway and landed in the sea off the resort island of Bali last month, according to a report seen Wednesday.All 108 passengers and crew survived the spectacular April 13 crash, which split the new Boeing 737-800 in two and was a major blow to Lion Air, which has signed record plane orders but is trying to shake off its ...
Japanese mayor sparks outrage with sex-slave remarks TOKYO: China expressed outrage on Tuesday over remarks by the mayor of the Japanese city of Osaka who said Japan's system of military brothels during World War Two was "necessary", as the Japanese government sought to distance itself from the comments.Asian victims of Japan's war-time aggression, including many people in China and South Korea, are sensitive to what they see as any attempt by Japanese politicians to excuse Japanese abuses before and during the war.Osaka ...
Australia delays promised budget CANBERRA: Australia's struggling Labour government on Tuesday used the last budget before national elections to delay a long-promised return to surplus, blaming a stubbornly high Australian dollar and lower commodity prices for a dramatic fall in revenues.With polls pointing to a solid defeat for Prime Minister Julia Gillard at elections set for Sept. 14, Treasurer Wayne Swan locked in 10 years of funding for landmark disability and school education policies aimed at reversing its downward ...

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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.434 bln
Exports $1.930 bln
Imports $3.364 bln
WeeklySeptember 18, 2014
Reserves $13.525 bln