Asia Briefs: Winds hinder efforts to tame tanker fire

Winds hinder efforts to tame tanker fire

BEIJING • Strong winds, high waves and toxic gases are hindering dozens of rescue boats struggling to locate missing sailors from a stricken oil tanker in the East China Sea and to extinguish a fire that has burned for the past three days on the ship.

The poor conditions, with rain and waves as high as 3m, frustrated efforts to tame the fire and search for the 31 remaining tanker crew members, China's Ministry of Transport said in a statement yesterday. The flames were forcing the South Korean Coast Guard's search and rescue team to stay as far as 4.8km away from the tanker, two South Korean officials said.


Call over 'comfort women' rejected

SEOUL • Japan said yesterday it can "by no means" accept South Korea's call for more steps to help "comfort women", a euphemism for girls and women forced to work in Japan's wartime brothels, a divisive issue that Japan says was resolved with a 2015 deal.

A South Korean investigation appointed by the government concluded last month that the dispute over the women could not be"fundamentally resolved" because the victims' demand for legal compensation had not been met.


Questions for Thai PM? Talk to cut-out

BANGKOK • Thais were left bemused by the latest antics of junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha after he told reporters to direct any serious questions to a cardboard cut-out of himself.

Talking to reporters outside Government House on Monday, Mr Prayut turned the media's attention to the life-size likeness after an aide dutifully placed the cut-out in front of a microphone.

"Whoever wants to take a picture, ask political questions... about conflict... ask this guy," Mr Prayut joked before saying "bye bye" and flashing sign language for "I love you".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2018, with the headline 'Asia Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe