China protests N. Korea shooting
China formally protested on Tuesday that three of its citizens were killed and a fourth wounded by North Korean border guards who opened fire June 4 in an apparent attempt to crack down on smuggling. The Chinese were from the border city of Dandong, site of the Friendship Bridge, across the Yalu River, commemorating China's support for the North during the Korean War. According to reports in the South Korean media, the Chinese were suspected of smuggling copper wire out of the North Korean city of Sinuiju, which lay on the other side of the bridge. The reports said they were on a boat on the river when they were shot. The incident comes in the midst of a furor over the March 26 sinking of a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors.
Expert tells U.S. to talk with Hezbollah
The United States should break with long-standing policy and start talking to Hezbollah in order to "mess with" the Iranian-backed group, a leading U.S. Mideast expert told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday. Ryan Crocker, who retired last year as the State Department's most experienced Mideast hand, told the panel that the United States stands to gain more than it would lose by negotiating with Hezbollah, which the government classifies as a terrorist organization. "Simply put, we cannot mess with our adversary's mind if we are not talking to him," he said. But Jeffrey Feltman, the State Department's chief Mideast official, told the same hearing: "Our policy is non-engagement with Hezbollah."
U.S. urged to help stabilize Somalia
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki asked the United States on Tuesday to lead a greater international effort to stabilize neighboring Somalia, while visiting Vice President Joe Biden said the United States is committed to helping Kenya see regional stability. The request that the United States do more to combat rising militancy in Somalia comes three days after the arrests of two New Jersey men attempting to fly there to allegedly join al-Shabab, a Somali militant group designated by the United States in 2008 as a terrorist organization. Biden is in the East African nation to press for political reforms and discuss the situation in Somalia and Sudan.