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Mushroom clouds around Phuket are fortunately due entirely to the weather

Phuket 'Ground Zero' for Nuclear Truce Talks

Saturday, June 20, 2009
PHUKET may be going nuclear. The holiday island has suddenly become the place to be for high-level discussions of all kinds.

Coming next: Talks aimed at neutralising North Korea's rogue nuclear program, now being proposed for July on Phuket.

Involved would be senior figures in the governments of the US, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan.

It's an idea that was discussed with US President Barack Obama when South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met him at the White House in Washington this week.

Phuket was the South Korean president's suggestion for the meeting. Foreign ministers and senior officials from 26 nations are gathering on the island as part of the Asia Regional Forum from July 16-23.

An island gathering of the five key countries would regenerate talks after North Korea laid waste to a formal six-nation disarmament dialogue.

The US and Japan have voiced support for the five-way talks, Associated Press reports, but China and Russia have yet to reply to the proposal.

A South Korean Foreign Ministry official said North Korean officials could also be invited. North Korea is scheduled to attend the Phuket regional summit.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also expected on Phuket next month, even though she slipped and broke an elbow this week on the way to the White House.

On June 24, the Phuket Fashion and Music Week begins. And almost on cue, five US warships are due to dock the following day with several thousand servicemen taking shore leave.

Phuket already has a rising reputation as a place for top-level talks, either for open discussion or in secret . . or in bikinis.

The organisers of the Miss Poland competition were well ahead of world leaders in choosing Phuket as a place for candidates to romp later in the year.

It was also revealed this week that Phuket was the place where a highly-regarded Vietnamese lawyer allegedly met with co-conspirators in March to plot the downfall of his country's Communist government.

The week before that, negotiators from seven nations reached agreement on free trade talks that will eventually provide benefits to billions of people in the region.

Going nuclear, though, will be a new challenge for an island where many people consider a pleasant holiday to be a ''big blast.''

The proposal for the Phuket meeting comes amid rising tensions over the North's missile and nuclear tests and its reported preparations for another long-range missile launch.

We are reliably informed, however, that for now, the long-range missile is not pointed Phuket's way.

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Wednesday July 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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