War splits the Far East

20 March 2003
Major Far Eastern nations are divided about whether to support or oppose the US-led attack against Iraq with Japan and the Philippines behind the coalition while China and Indonesia are expressing strong criticisms of the war.

Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri said she fiercely opposed the attack on Iraq and urged the UN to call an urgent meeting. 'The Indonesian government calls on the Security Council of the UN...to hold an emergency meeting to urge the US and its allies to halt the war and be responsible for the humanitarian impact of the conflict on Iraq,' she said. Indonesia was the second major Asian country to condemn the attack. China has expressed its opposition.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said: 'Japan supports the policy of U.S. President Bush that the operation is to disarm Iraq, not to attack Iraqi people.'

Filipino President Gloria Arroyo said her government was supporting efforts to rid Iraq of suspected weapons of mass destruction by force. 'The war has just begun,' she was reported as saying. 'The Philippines is part of the coalition of the willing. We are giving political and moral support for actions to rid Iraq of weapons mass destruction.'

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