On March 24, the North Korean government warned the UN, the United States, and Japan against issuing sanctions in retaliation for its planned launch of a communications satellite between April 4 and 8. The communist nation's foreign ministry issued a statement published by the Korean Central News Agency that said the imposition of UN sanctions would violate a September 2005 six-nation agreement on mutual respect.
Two journalists for the California-based online media outlet Current TV were taken into custody and detained by North Korean soldiers on March 17. The two women, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were identified by a missionary who spoke to them earlier that day and later shared his information with the Associated Press.
During a mid-March forum organized by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Washington, China's top climate-change negotiator, Li Gao, said his country should not pay for cutting emissions created by producing Chinese goods to satisfy the demands of countries importing Chinese goods. Li had joined envoys from Japan and the EU to engage in preliminary talks in preparation for the December Climate Conference in Copenhagen. The stated purpose of that conference will be to reach an agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol before its provisions expire in 2012. Neither the United States nor China ratified the Kyoto agreement.
As many as 50 suspected Taliban militants destroyed 15 trucks at the al-Faisal terminal in Peshawar, Pakistan, early on the morning of March 16. A NATO supply convoy loaded with supplies bound for U.S. forces in Afghanistan was being assembled at the terminal, according to a Peshawar police official.
The Chinese government, to which the United States is in debt approximately $1 trillion, is preparing to use its leverage to exact concessions from the U.S. government. “We are concerned about the safety of our assets,” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at a news conference March 13. “I would like to call on the United States to honor its words, stay a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets."