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News Briefs, part 2

Free Enterprise Revives Abandoned U.S. Naval Base

Los Angeles Times
SUBIC BAY, Philippines

The big warships don't dock here anymore. The F-18 Hornet fighters no longer roar overhead. The bar girls have migrated away, and about 40,000 civilian jobs are gone, lost to a fit of Philippine national pride that kicked the U.S. Navy out of here two years ago.

But now, in the eerie ghost town atmosphere of what used to be the Navy's largest overseas base, something rather remarkable is happening: free enterprise.

Businesses are starting to blossom inside the gray military buildings that line the gloomy wharves, one of them making Reebok shoes. Federal Express is planning to use the Navy airstrip. Tourists are lounging in a casino hotel converted from a barracks and playing golf on fairways salvaged from the ash fallout of Mount Pinatubo.

Subic Bay, not long ago a Cold War relic symbolizing America's decline in the Pacific, is being transformed into a plucky little free-port zone.

Decades of economic malaise left the Philippines lagging far behind its successful neighbors. But people say things are different now, at last.

Taiwan Leader Gets Cold Shoulder From U.S.

Los Angeles Times

He wasn't able to shop in Waikiki. No one threw a lei around his neck. He didn't see any palm trees or walk on the beach.

Instead, when Taiwan President Li Teng-hui's plane stopped in Hawaii Wednesday on the way to a visit to Nicaragua, he decided to stay inside his plane on the Tarmac. The reason? The Clinton administration would not give the leader of Taiwan permission to do anything in Honolulu beyond a short refueling stop.

And, as if to compound the rebuff, there was no American welcoming party to greet Li's plane. No American diplomats or officials were present except Nat Bellocchi, head of the Washington office of the American Institute for Taiwan, the unofficial organization set up to handle non-government contacts with the island.

The Clinton administration's icy treatment of the Taiwan president is in line with past practice. Ever since 1979, when the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwans Nationalist government, it has discouraged Taiwan's top leaders from traveling to this country, out of fear of offending the People's Republic of China.

Taiwan's premier stopped in Los Angeles and San Francisco earlier this year, but he was not allowed to remain in San Francisco for more than a day. And Taiwan's foreign minister has been allowed to visit Boston, but not Washington.