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Nauru, `Paradise in Pacific Ocean,` Now Part of the Axis of Evil?

Nauru, `Paradise in Pacific Ocean,` Now Part of the Axis of Evil?

Posted May. 20, 2003 13:09,   


The world`s only superpower, the United States, is putting pressure on Nauru, the weakest nation in the world, and a country that even lacks military forces in the name of the war on terrorism. The U.S. believes Nauru is intentionally making the passport issuance process too easy, and terrorists are taking full advantage.

Nauru, called a paradise in the Pacific Ocean is now falling into deep trouble because of it, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

Nauru, a small island country, located northeast of Australia in the South Pacific, is the smallest and weakest country in the world after the Vatican. The total size of the nation is about 20 sq. km with a population of only 12,000.

Nauru once reached 10,000 dollars in GNP in 1993 as it had abundant reserves of phosphate, used for making silk fabrics, but as international investment companies swept away most of the mining rights, and even worse, as most of the phosphate is nearly gone, the GNP dropped to below 5,000 dollars last year.

Nauru has been removing restrictions in order for foreign investors to secretly wire money or establish paper companies since the mid 1990s to overcome its financial difficulties. Nauru is also in cooperation with Trans Pacific Development (TPD), which was founded by a former U.S. prosecutor, and has been issuing passports to anyone for a price since 1997. TPD, which has branches in various cities such as Hong Kong, charges about 15,000 dollars per passport. Nauru gives 4,500 to TPD and with the rest going to the national treasury.

About 1,000 passports have been issued without verification to those who do not live in Nauru; this is almost the same thing as issuing fake citizenship to terrorists, the Wall Street Journal reported. An Azerbaijan born man who bought a Nauru passport last year was discovered operating in Hangzhou, China. He was arrested for planning terrorist attacks on Americans.

The U.S. government warned at the end of last year that it will prohibit all U.S. banks from dealing with Nauru. The warning will go into effect in several weeks based on the Patriot Act, which was made to support the war on terrorism. This will be the toughest measure ever taken by the Patriot Act, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Bernard Dowiyogo, Nauru`s former president, secretly visited Washington to prevent the economic embargo, but died of a chronic disease after arrival. Nauru`s Finance Minister Namaduk has been trying to change the system but as political opponents have criticized his efforts, citing attempts to gain political power, confusion yet remains, cited the newspaper.

Ki-Tae Kwon kkt@donga.com