Asia Pacific

China's ratification of Bangkok accord makes it world's largest trade pact, UN says

China's ratification of the Bangkok Agreement has made one of Asia's oldest trade accords the world's largest in terms of market potential, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) announced today.

East Timor: Ramos-Horta resigns from National Council

Resigning today from the National Council of East Timor, independence leader and Nobel laureate José Ramos-Horta appealed to the Council and all East Timorese to continue supporting the presence of the United Nations in the territory.

Afghan sides prepare for heavy fighting as 'hungry season' nears: Annan

Afghanistan, already facing a "humanitarian crisis of alarming proportions," could see increased fighting during the summer months, coinciding with the country's "hungry season," according to a new report by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

UN envoy meets with top Kazakh officials on peace process in Afghanistan

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's envoy to Afghanistan today concluded a two-day visit to Kazakhstan where he discussed with the country's top officials ways of moving towards a comprehensive political settlement of the Afghan conflict.

East Timor: UN peacekeepers arrest suspects in Viqueque murders

Peacekeepers from the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and international police officers arrested three persons today as suspects in murders committed during a riot in Viqueque on 12 March.

East Timor: UN team visits Indonesia's West Timor to encourage repatriation

A team from the United Nations mission in East Timor has held "very successful" meetings with thousands of refugees in camps in West Timor, Indonesia, to inform the East Timorese of the situation in their home territory and encourage their repatriation, the UN peacekeeping operation said today in Dili.

Afghanistan: warring sides agree to ceasefire for UN polio immunization effort

The warring factions in Afghanistan have agreed to respect a ceasefire for three days starting tomorrow to allow a United Nations polio immunization effort to go forward, according to the Islamabad-based UN Coordinator for the country.

UN Asia-Pacific forum to tackle poverty, AIDS as human security threats

Poverty, urbanization, AIDS and other threats to human security will feature high on the agenda as representatives from throughout the Asia-Pacific region gather at the United Nations centre in Bangkok this week, the UN announced today.

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.