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Intelligence: The Week Ahead
Decision Time on Estrada; Globalization Rears Its Head at APEC; Japan's Mori Under Threat

November 13, 2000
Web posted at 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, 1:30 a.m. EDT

Philippine House to Vote on Estrada
All in the Philippines, and many people beyond, will today be watching the House of Representatives, which is set to vote on whether to send President Joseph Estrada for trial in the Senate. Supporters of the resolution are confident that the required one-third of congressmen will sign the articles of impeachment, but pro-Estrada politicians are working hard to derail the process.

Estrada continues to deny that he received payoffs, largely from illegal gambling, amounting to $11.7 million, and maintains he is "sure to be acquitted" if he is tried in the Senate. Since that allegation was made by former Estrada crony, provincial governor Luis Singson, further graft accusations have been made against the president.

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While his resignation has been sought by Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Manuel Villar, the Roman Catholic Church, former presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos and the country's top businessmen, Estrada points to polls that say most Filipinos still support him. If the House votes to impeach Estrada, 11 congressmen will act as his prosecutors in the Senate, whose members sit as jury. The chief justice will preside as judge.

A WTO Rumble in Brunei
As far as we know, crowds of protesters aren't about to besiege the APEC forum in Brunei this week, but inside the meeting there seem certain to be fireworks over the World Trade Organization. Whenever they have been discussed over the past year, the WTO's globalization plans have drawn heavy flak — and it looks as though the much-maligned, lackluster Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will continue the trend in quiet Brunei.

Both Malaysia and Thailand tossed sharp statements into the placid run-up to the two-day leaders' forum, which begins on Wednesday. The U.S., represented in Brunei by President Bill Clinton, aims to have APEC help finalize the agenda for WTO talks in 2001 — making up for time lost in the violence-marred Seattle WTO conference last December and at economic meetings since.

Malaysia says it wants to see a balance of proposals meeting the interests of both developed and developing countries. Thailand made clear it expects globalization to mean not only free trade access but also access to education, employment and health-care opportunities. Will the Brunei forum be able to resolve the divergent views on the WTO? Has APEC finally found a role to give itself new life?

Kato Throws Down the Gauntlet
Japan-watchers have plenty to observe this week. The country's leadership is in turmoil following hints by a powerful member of the Liberal Democratic Party, Kato Koichi, that he may support or abstain from a no-confidence motion planned by the opposition. If LDP factions controlled by Kato and ally Yamasaki Taku back such a motion against Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro, it is highly likely to unseat him. Meanwhile Mori's supporters say any LDP members who support the no-confidence vote will be kicked out of the party.

The Kato and Yamasaki factions are meeting today to reconfirm their stances. The no-confidence vote isn't scheduled yet, but open warfare has now been declared inside the LDP and matters could come to a head soon. Kato — considered a candidate for the prime ministership — has told the press he belives that Japan needs "changes."

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The Week Ahead 11/6/00
How Long Can Estrada Last?; Chen Shui-Bian's Struggle With the Opposition; Tommy Suharto Affair; No Clinton Ticket to Pyongyang
- Monday, November 6, 2000

The Week Ahead 10/30/00
Chen May Face No-Confidence Motion; More Pressure for Estrada to Go; Missile Talks Will Help Decide Clinton Visit
- Monday, October 30, 2000

The Week Ahead 10/23/00
Kim Jong-il's Coming Out Party; Estrada's Last Stand?; Riding the Market Roller Coaster
- Monday, October 23, 2000

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