US Pacific Chief Sees Future Military Role in Vietnam

THE top US military officer in Asia yesterday predicted the US military would begin cooperation with former enemy Vietnam once relations are normalized.

But continued cooperation on the MIA issue is critical to advancing political and economic relations, Adm. Richard Macke said.

Admiral Macke, the commander in chief of the US Pacific Command, said he did not rule out a future United States military presence in Vietnam and indicated he was interested in the old US naval base at Cam Ranh Bay.

Battle of widows in Sri Lanka's race

THE widow of assassinated Sri Lankan opposition leader Gamini Dissanayake will run in the Nov. 9 presidential election in his place, opposing a woman also widowed by political violence.

The opposition United National Party chose lawyer Srima Dissanayake, after a stormy meeting, to run against Premier Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Mrs. Dissanayake, whose political experience is limited to local government, finds herself in national politics on a wave of sympathy generated after her husband's brutal death on Sunday.

Thai prime minister proud of stability

THAILAND'S prime minister yesterday said that restoring stability has been his biggest accomplishment so far.

Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai appears certain his government will last another two years.

Midway through his first term, he attributes pessimism to unrealistic expectations that his government would bring dramatic improvements overnight.

Mr. Chuan, who swept into power by a pro-democracy revolt in 1992, was not expected to last this long. Beside the threat of military coups, Chuan's coalition government holds only a narrow majority in Parliament.

Observers say Chuan's slow but steady style has made it difficult for the military to attempt to seize power.

The military has staged more than a dozen coups in Thailand since a 1932 coup established constitutional government.

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