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Asia: from the Philippines to Tibet

August 1, 1985



Peter Bacho's June 27 warning about the possible involvement of United States troops in the Philippines should be heeded in Washington [``Marcos's chilling suggestion'']. The Philippines today bear little resemblance to the Philippines of the 1950s. The United States can no longer handpick a leader and orchestrate his defusion of a rebellion by a combination of military action and the promise of land. Today the Filipinos themselves must act to avert a possible civil war by opening up the system so that the basic grievances of the underclass can be redressed. American troops cannot accomplish what the Philippine government refuses to do. Kathleen Manalo McLean, Va.

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I enjoyed your July 9 report on the liberation of Tibet, both for the good news and for the quality of the reporting. However, the story spoke of Tibet's ``triumph.'' For a great and proud nation such as China to have apologized is perhaps even more noteworthy, and I wish you would publish an editorial praising China's triumph over self. The world's problems will not be solved until other nations emulate her in that kind of triumph. Incidentally I prefer the word ``success.'' The word ``triumph'' evokes

an image of an enemy, which is not helpful. Richard N. Bail Whitman, Mass.

In your July 8 article, ``Korea gets tough with students,'' I find no adequate explanation of why thousands of ``rebellious students'' have been demonstrating against the South Korean government for several years.

Your writer says, ``The students want, very simply, to overthrow the government . . .''

But why?

According to the the Amnesty International book ``Torture in the Eighties,'' over 200 students and journalists were arrested and tortured by government security forces in May 1980, and the Kwangju demonstrations, in protest of government brutality, resulted in the further arrest of about 1,000 students, at least eight of whom were ``beaten to death by Special Forces troops.'' James Armstrong Placentia, Calif.

William Kennedy asserts [July 8] that Taiwan ``would give China virtually a throttlehold on Japanese ocean commerce and such a military dominance over Japan's southern islands that Japan would be forced to consider acquisition of nuclear weapons.''

A simple look at a map shows that Taiwan is about 700 miles from Kyushu, with the Ryukyu Islands acting as a buffer between Taiwan and Japan. Warren Himmelberger Wellesley Hills, Mass.