UN Chief Begins Asian Tour

A0106051.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has arrived in South Korea on the first leg of a five-nation Asian tour that will also take him to Japan, China, Thailand and Vietnam.

Annan was hoping to ease regional tensions in Asia where divisions over its bitter past have left Japan stuck in a diplomatic row with its neighbors South Korea and China.

Beijing and Seoul are outraged by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s annual visits to the Yasukuni shrine, which honors war dead including war criminals, and by Tokyo’s approval of nationalist history books that indirectly support pre-Second World War Japanese expansion.

According to Japan’s Kyodo news agency, ahead of his Asian tour, Annan last week called on Japan and its neighbors to improve relations.

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