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Posts tagged ‘Brunei’

Kerry: China Willing to Pressure NKorea on Nukes.

Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday China is willing to exert more pressure to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

He told reporters in Beijing he was pleased that China “could not have more forcefully reiterated its commitment” to the goal of denuclearizing North Korea.

The reclusive Asian state has defied international warnings not to build atomic bombs and long-range missiles. It is believed to have enough fissile material to build up to 10 nuclear bombs, but most intelligence analysts say it has yet to master the technology to deploy such weapons.

“I encouraged the Chinese to use every tool at their disposal, all of the means of persuasion that they have, building on the depths of their long and historic and cultural and common history (with North Korea),” he said.

“They made it very clear that if the North doesn’t comply and come to the table and be serious about talks and stop its program … they are prepared to take additional steps in order to make sure their policy is implemented,” Kerry said, adding the United States and China were now discussing “the specifics of how you do that”.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kerry China would work with all parties concerned, including the United States, to play a constructive role for the region’s peace and stability.

“China will never allow chaos or war on the Korean Peninsula,” Wang said, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

North Korea was raised during Kerry’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Foreign Ministry said, with Xi “setting forth China’s stance”. It gave no other details.

The East and South China Seas featured prominently on Kerry’s agenda too, with him calling for a “more rule of law based, less confrontational regime”.

The United States is uneasy about what it sees as China’s effort to gain creeping control over waters in the Asia-Pacific region, including its Nov. 23 declaration of an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in an area of the East China Sea that includes islands at the centre of a dispute with Japan.

China claims about 90 percent of the 3.5 million square km (1.35 million square mile) South China Sea, depicting what it sees as its area on maps with a so-called nine-dash line, looping far out over the sea from south China.

China and the Association of South East Asian Nations have been discussing a code of conduct for the South China Sea, and Kerry said he believed China was ready to achieve that goal.

“That would help reduce tensions that stem from the territorial and maritime disputes and, in the meantime, it’s very important that everybody build crisis management tools and refrain from coercive or unilateral measures to assert whatever claims any country in the region may have,” he said.

Wang said China was committed to a peaceful resolution for both the East and South China Seas disputes, but urged the United States not take sides and said China had an “unshakable resolve” to protect its sovereignty.

The United States should “respect historical facts and China’s sovereign interests, adhere to an objective and impartial stance and take tangible actions to promote mutual trust in the region so as to safeguard regional peace and stability”, Wang said.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims over the South China Sea, or parts of it.

Kerry said he told China it would be a bad idea to establish an air defence identification zone in the South China Sea, similar to the one it set up over the East China Sea late last year, which prompted protests from Washington, Tokyo and Seoul.

“We have made it very clear that a unilateral, unannounced, unprocessed initiative like that can be very challenging to certain people in the region, and therefore to regional stability,” he said.

Wang said China was confident it could maintain peace in the South China Sea by working with ASEAN, and denounced efforts by “certain people internationally” to hype up tensions and “spread untruths”. “China is resolutely opposed to this,” Wang said, without elaborating.

Climate change was also on the agenda of Kerry’s talks.

“We need to see if working together we could identify any further steps that we may be able to take, specifically with respect to arrival at meaningful targets with respect to the 2015 climate change conference that will take place in Paris in December of next year,” Kerry said.


© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

US, Vietnam Sign Nuclear Trade Agreement.

Image: US, Vietnam Sign Nuclear Trade Agreement

Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 07:14 AM

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei — The United States and Vietnam on Thursday signed a pact that would allow the transfer of nuclear technology to the Southeast Asian nation and open the way for U.S. investment in the burgeoning industry, in another sign that Washington is seeking stronger economic and strategic ties in the region.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S.-Vietnam Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement would allow U.S. firms to tap Vietnam’s future nuclear power market, although the State Department said the deal will not allow Vietnam to enrich or reprocess U.S.-origin nuclear materials.

“This agreement will create numerous opportunities for our businesses,” Kerry told Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on the sidelines of an Asian summit in Brunei. “Obviously our nuclear cooperation is quite significant.”

Vietnam is working with Russia to build its first nuclear plant in 2014 for completion in 2020 in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan, as demand for energy grows rapidly in response to economic growth of around 5 percent a year.

It has also signed an agreement with a Japanese consortium to develop a second nuclear power plant in the same province, with two reactors to become operational in 2024-2025.

Vietnam has the second-largest market after China for nuclear power in East Asia, which was expected to grow to $50 billion by 2030, according to Kerry.

The United States has moved to improve economic and security ties with Vietnam, part of its strategic rebalancing towards Asia that some see as a policy to counter China’s rising clout. China’s assertive claims over the South China Sea have raised tensions with Vietnam, as well as other Southeast Asian nations.

Vietnam’s poor human rights record is a major obstacle to closer ties and U.S. labor and human rights groups have urged Obama to suspend free-trade negotiations with Vietnam because of its treatment of workers and government critics.

Analysts say a sharp increase in the past few years in arrests and convictions of government detractors, in particular, bloggers, could complicate the nuclear deal as Congress needs to be convinced Vietnam is changing its tack.

The deal will be submitted to President Barack Obama for his review before it is sent to Congress for its approval by the end of the year, a U.S. official said.

“Getting to this stage moves us closer to an expanded civil nuclear cooperation with Vietnam,” the official, who briefed reporters in Washington, said.

“Vietnam is actively taking steps now toward development of a robust domestic infrastructure to support a nuclear energy program,” the official added.

With Vietnam at an early stage of nuclear development, the official said the agreement provides the basis for U.S. firms to enter the market early as it builds nuclear power plants and for the U.S. government to ensure the proper safeguards.

The U.S. official said the agreement “will also strengthen the Obama administration’s long-standing policy of limiting the spread or enrichment and reprocessing capabilities around the world.”

The deal stems from Obama’s Prague initiative, a drive for global nuclear security which he launched in his first term.

Asked whether the provisions of the deal would ward off any concern that Vietnam might someday seek nuclear weapons capability, the official said: “That certainly would close off one path toward that.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Shutdown Deadlock Upends Obama’s Trip to Asia.

President Barack Obama canceled a key trip to Asia scheduled to begin this weekend due to the lingering government shutdown, the White House confirmed late Thursday.

A White House statement said Obama scrapped travel plans for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference on the Indonesian island of Bali, and then to Brunei for the Southeast Asian Nations summit, according to The Associated Press.

“Due to the government shutdown, President Obama’s travel to Indonesia and Brunei has been canceled,” the statement said.

“The president made this decision based on the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown, and his determination to continue pressing his case that Republicans should immediately allow a vote to reopen the government,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

Secretary of State John Kerry will lead the U.S. delegation to both Bali and to Brunei in place of Obama, the statement said, AFP reported.

The purpose of the trip is to further U.S. interests in the rapidly developing region of Asia, White House officials said.

The president had originally scheduled a weeklong trip to four nations. He canceled part of the trip — to Malaysia and the Philippines — earlier this week,  administration officials said.

By Newsmax Wires

Obama Grounded, Cancels Asian Trip During Shutdown.

Image: Obama Grounded, Cancels Asian Trip During Shutdown

By Elliot Jager

The sky’s the limit for Barack Obama. The U.S. government shutdown has forced the president to cancel trips to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and the PhilippinesNBC News reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to make these visits in Obama’s place, starting on Oct. 6.

With no fiscal crisis to hold him back – and no democracy to constrain his policies – Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived Wednesday in Indonesia as part of a regional tour that will assert his country’s interests as a power on the ascent. Forbes reported that bilateral trade between China and Indonesia has mushroomed to $66 billion in 2012. Beijing‘s bilateral trade with Malaysia has hit $95 billion.

Obama will miss the chance to address the Fourth Global Entrepreneurship Summit, a program launched in 2009 by the president himself to spur job creation through entrepreneurship by connecting young innovators with resources and ideas,according to  organizers.

In 2010, an earlier fiscal crisis and the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico forced Obama to cancel two foreign trips.

His most recent trip abroad was to St. Petersburg, Russia, for the G-20 summit in September. That trip, which also included a stop in Sweden, cost the president politically when his plans for military intervention in Syria lost steam. While he was away congressional opponents in both parties gained the upper hand, Politico noted.

As president, Obama has visited 40 countries making some 60 trips.

The White House website reported that the president has no public appointments scheduled Wednesday.

Over at, the Federal government‘s portal, visitors are informed: “Due to the lapse in federal government spending, this website is not available.

We sincerely regret the inconvenience.” Though, helpfully, surfers can scroll and click around to find out all the things they – like Obama – can no longer do.

Related Articles:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Foursquare Church Reports Progress for Christ in Southeast Asia.

George Butron
George Butron lays hands on a man at his installation ceremony at the Community of Praise Baptist Church, of which he is the senior pastor. (CPBC)

When George Butron was 19, he had no idea that God was calling him to be a missionary to the nations. He just wanted to be a farmer.

But after completing his agriculture degree, George enrolled at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., where he met his wife, Joyce, who was working on a degree in education to become a teacher in the mission field. God used Joyce and others to impress on Butron an urgency to take God’s Word to the nations.

“As it turns out, I am a farmer after all,” he declares. “God has enabled me to plant and minster the seed of His Word all over the world.”

George and Joyce, married for 30 years, have four sons, two of whom live with them in Singapore. The couple has served in various roles with Foursquare around the world. Since 2003, George Butron has served as area missionary to Southeast Asia.

In July 2009, he took on the additional role of senior pastor of Community of Praise Baptist Church. This Spirit-filled congregation is impacting Singapore and touching nations in Asia with local and international ministries.

The Butrons know that God has called them to take His Word to nations and peoples who have not had the same access to the gospel that is common in Western nations. They say they are called to places where cultural, linguistic, political or spiritual barriers prevent people from hearing the Good News and seeing the power of God demonstrated.

“Not only do we feel like God has called us to the nations, particularly nations in Asia,” George Butron tells, “but we also love the diversity of Asian cultures, peoples, foods and lifestyles.”

Foursquare in Southeast Asia

Butron describes Southeast Asia as a dynamic and rapidly changing region of the world. Ten countries make up Foursquare’s Southeast Asia region: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar (aka Burma), Cambodia, Philippines, Guam (a U.S. territory), Laos and Brunei.

These 10 countries represent a total population of 350 million people and are served by just over 5,600 Foursquare churches. Most of the churches are in Cambodia (3,365) and the Philippines (1,800).

The spiritual statistics among the nations of Southeast Asia reflect significant growth and potential. Throughout the region in 2010 there were a total of 207,000 decisions made for Christ; 41,600 water baptisms; and 26,400 Holy Spirit baptisms.

The Philippines is the only stage-four nation in the denomination’s Four-Stage Development Model. Stage four is the “send/extending” stage, meaning they have developed responsible, reproducing, missionary-sending churches that send missionaries to other countries.

Cambodia is a stage-three nation. Stage three is the “expand/multiplying” stage, during which congregations are reproducing other congregations.

Myanmar and Malaysia are between stages two and three. Stage two is the “nurture/strengthening” stage, the goal of which is to make responsible, reproducing leaders. Thailand, Singapore and Guam are stage-two nations.

Vietnam is between stages one and two. Stage one is the “initiate/evangelizing” stage. Laos and Brunei are stage-one nations.

Ministry Challenges

The challenges to spreading the gospel in Southeast Asia are numerous. Butron explains that many of the nations are politically unstable with corrupt government systems that foster persecution, widespread poverty, terrorism, and drug and human trafficking.

Also, Christians face challenges presented by the predominant influence of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.

One of the biggest challenges to churches is the fact that the highest percentage of the Asian population is under 30 years old.

“The clash of youth culture, media and technology with traditional values is impacting both urban and rural areas,” Butron explains. “Raising and training up a new generation of Christian leaders becomes challenging when so many talented young leaders emigrate to other countries and do not always return. Countries in the regions struggle with the lack of strong successors to carry on the work of their churches and ministries.”

But he notes that these instabilities are creating more needs and, therefore, more opportunities for the gospel. In spite of religious extremism and persecution, and in the face of so many obstacles, the church is growing. Christianity is becoming a credible and powerful alternative for many, especially younger-generation Asians who are looking for answers beyond materialism, worldly wisdom and philosophy, and traditions.

“Churches and Christians that care for orphans and widows, help the poor and provide disaster relief are gaining credibility by meeting human need,” Butron affirms. “This brings people to Christ and opens the way for new churches to start.”

Open Doors

Doors of opportunity are being opened, even in smaller countries such as Laos and Brunei, and new partnerships between nations are being developed.

“We are finding ways of helping the fruitfulness of countries like Cambodia and the Philippines spill over into the other countries, as well, and there are plenty of places for believers from the West to join in partnership,” Butron notes.

He describes how the Philippines is sending missionaries to other nations and helping to train leaders from other Asian nations through their Bible schools. New approaches to ministry, such as urban church-planting projects, are also becoming new models for innovative ways to impact urban areas.

One of the most fruitful church-planting movements in the world, Butron notes, is happening in Cambodia. The innovative approaches and ministry principles they follow are an example for other Asian leaders and churches.

“The harvest is ripe, and workers are needed now,” he asserts. “God is pouring out the Holy Spirit and bringing genuine transformation to nations in Asia.”

The area missionary sees a strong movement of God happening as church-planting movements are doing more than establishing a few remnant Christians in countries that traditionally follow other religions. The pastors and leaders in Southeast Asia believe that a significant move of God is stirring, and that the region is experiencing a great kingdom “invasion and innovation.”

Points of Celebration and Prayer

There are several points of celebration to be thankful for throughout the Southeast Asia region. For example, Cambodia continues to see one of the most significant church-planting movements in the world, with transformational impact taking place in spite of significant challenges.

Vietnam has greater religious freedom, and the Foursquare work is moving toward registration and recognition by the Vietnamese government. The Foursquare Church in Malaysia has a vision and strategy to plant 300 house churches by 2020.

The Foursquare work in the Philippines continues to grow and mature, with diverse urban ministries in Manila and other key cities, effective leadership training programs, Bible colleges, and a strong missions vision and sending focus.

How can those of us in the U.S. pray for Southeast Asia? Butron mentions praying for the development of effective leadership training programs to be developed in Singapore, Guam, Thailand and Malaysia, and for national boards to be strengthened in every country with skilled leaders and visionaries.

He also asks for prayer for Christians who experience persecution, which is still very much a threat in Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos. Laos is politically resistant to Christianity.

Prayer is also requested for a change in the political climate of the countries where Islamic militancy, Buddhism and poverty challenge the growth of the Christian church. Pray for protection, provision and the health of workers in the harvest.

Finally, Butron asks that we pray for the nation of Myanmar, which experienced an earthquake a few days after the Japan quake. Some towns and villages in the eastern part of the country (Shan State) were leveled. Several Foursquare churches were damaged beyond repair and will have to be rebuilt. Believers in this nation have faced exceptional challenges and hardship, but Butron reports that God is doing a great work there.

Story used with permission from Foursquare Church. Click here for the original article.

By Amy Swanson/ The Foursquare Church.

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