Top Asian News 3:42 a.m. GMT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile toward the sea on Sunday, its neighbors said, ramping up testing activities in response to U.S.-South Korean military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal. The missile launched from the North’s northwestern region flew across the country before it landed in the waters off its east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. It said South Korea’s military has boosted its surveillance posture and maintains a readiness in close coordination with the United States. Japan’s Defense Ministry said a suspected North Korean missile was launched on Sunday morning.
LAHORE, Islamabad (AP) — Pakistani police stormed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s residence in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday and arrested 61 people amid tear gas and clashes between Khan’s supporters and police, officials said. Senior police officer Suhail Sukhera, who led the operation in an upscale Lahore neighborhood, said police acted to remove a barricade erected by members of Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party and his defiant supporters. He said they blocked the lanes around Khan’s residence with concrete blocks, felled trees, tents and a parked truck. Khan was not in the home, having traveled to Islamabad to appear before a judge to face charges he sold state gifts while in office and hid his assets.
TOKYO (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Saturday held the first round of government consultations in Tokyo and agreed to strengthen economic and defense ties to better cope with China’s growing influence and global security concerns. Kishida told a joint news conference after the talks that the sides agreed to strengthen supply chains in minerals, semiconductors, batteries and other strategic areas, in order to “counter economic coercion, state-led attempts to illegally acquire technology and non-market practices,” apparently referring to China. “Japan and Germany, both industrial nations that share fundamental values, need to take global leadership to strengthen resilience of our societies,” Kishida said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week highlighted China’s aspirations for a greater role on the world stage. But they also revealed the perils of global diplomacy: Hours after Friday’s announcement of the trip, an international arrest warrant was issued for Putin on war crimes charges, taking at least some wind out of the sails of China’s big reveal. The flurry of developments — which followed China’s brokering of an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic relations and its release of what it calls a “peace plan” for Ukraine — came as the Biden administration watches warily Beijing’s moves to assert itself more forcefully in international affairs.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States, its Western allies and experts shone a spotlight on the dire human rights situation and increasing repression in North Korea at a U.N. meeting Friday that China and Russia denounced as a politicized move likely to further escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula. China blocked the U.S. from broadcasting the informal Security Council meeting globally on the internet, a decision criticized by U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield as an attempt to hide North Korea’s “atrocities from the world.” Webcasting requires agreement by all 15 council members. But the U.S. envoy said Beijing’s effort was in vain because the meeting will be made public, and the U.S.
MOSCOW (AP) — Voters in Kazakhstan will cast ballots Sunday after a short but active campaign for seats in the lower house of parliament that is being reconfigured in the wake of deadly unrest that gripped the resource-rich Central Asian nation a year ago. The snap election comes on the third anniversary of the resignation as president of Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had led Kazakhstan since independence following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and who had established immense influence. His successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, was widely expected to continue Nazarbayev’s authoritarian course and even renamed the capital as Nur-Sultan in his predecessor’s honor.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Millions of fish have washed up dead in southeastern Australia in what authorities and scientists say is caused by floods and hot weather. The Department of Primary Industries in New South Wales state said the fish deaths coincided with a heat wave that put stress on a system that has experienced extreme conditions from wide-scale flooding. The deaths were likely caused by low oxygen levels as floods recede, a situation made worse by fish needing more oxygen because of the warmer weather, the department said. Residents of the Outback town of Menindee complained of a terrible smell from the dead fish.
BEIJING (AP) — Genetic material collected at a Chinese market near where the first human cases of COVID-19 were identified show raccoon dog DNA comingled with the virus, adding evidence to the theory that the virus originated from animals, not from a lab, international experts say. “These data do not provide a definitive answer to how the pandemic began, but every piece of data is important to moving us closer to that answer,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday. How the coronavirus emerged remains unclear. Many scientists believe it most likely jumped from animals to people, as many other viruses have in the past, at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China.
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow next week, offering a major diplomatic boost to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the same day the International Criminal Court announced it wants to put the Russian leader on trial for alleged war crimes. Xi’s visit was the latest sign of Beijing’s emboldened diplomatic ambitions, and came amid sharpening East-West tensions over the war in Ukraine, now in its 13th month. The U.S. on Friday said it would oppose any effort by China at the meeting to propose a ceasefire in Ukraine as the “ratification of Russian conquest.” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby encouraged Xi to reach out to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to get his country’s perspective on the war and avoid any “one-sided” proposals.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Friday it fired an intercontinental ballistic missile to “strike fear into the enemies” as South Korea and Japan agreed at a summit to work closely on regional security with the United States and staged military exercises around the region. The missile, launched Thursday from North Korea’s main airport as leader Kim Jong Un and his daughter smiled from afar, overshadowed a summit held hours later between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minster Fumio Kishida. The meeting in Tokyo was partially aimed at rebuilding security ties between the often-estranged U.S. allies in the face of North Korean nuclear threats.