Asia Pacific

DPR of Korea: despite political improvements, relief aid still critical, UN says

Recent improvements in the political climate of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have not yet had a significant impact on the country's humanitarian situation, which is still critical following a prolonged period of economic decline and a series of natural disasters, the United Nations said today.

East Timor "flexible" in talks over Timor Sea dispute, UN mission says

A high-level United Nations official in East Timor today said that the UN mission and the territory's transitional administration were "flexible" in the negotiations with Australia over a Timor Sea dispute, but that the strength of East Timor, given its small size, was in international law.

UN racism expert to examine indigenous rights during planned visit to Australia

A United Nations human rights expert will examine the rights of indigenous people in Australia during a visit to the country later this month, the UN announced today.

Annan welcomes end to US-China dispute

Welcoming the reported end to the dispute between China and the United States over an aerial incident, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today he had spoken to Washington and be in contact with Beijing shortly.

High infant mortality rates recorded in northeast Afghanistan: UN aid coordinator

Recent assessment missions by the Office of the United Nations Coordinator for Afghanistan have documented an "alarmingly high" number of infant deaths due to disease in the northeastern part of the country, an area plagued by drought and conflict.

East Timor National Council elects business representative as new Speaker

The National Council of East Timor today elected a representative from the private sector as its new Speaker, following the recent resignation of Xanana Gusmao, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) reported in Dili.

More study needed on Asian brown haze, global warming and ozone: UNEP

In the wake of an international meeting on climate change, the head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today emphasized the need to develop a more complete picture of the roles and interactions of greenhouse gases, aerosols and ozone.

Misery increasing in western Afghanistan, UN relief coordinator warns

The situation in western Afghanistan continues to deteriorate as summer approaches, with about 1,000 people leaving their homes each day to escape drought, conflict, or both, according to a statement issued today by the Office of the United Nations Coordinator for Afghanistan.

Myanmar: UN human rights expert reports cautious optimism among parties

A United Nations human rights expert who has just returned from Myanmar after three days of talks with government and opposition party leaders said today that there appeared to be cautious optimism about the latest developments in the country.

Security Council discusses elections, leadership and civil unrest in East Timor

Civil disturbances in East Timor, the forthcoming elections and the resignation of Xanana Gusmão as president of the National Council dominated discussions in the Security Council today as members heard a briefing by a top United Nations peacekeeping official.