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Top Asian News 3:28 a.m. GMT

September 24, 2022 GMT

US steps up diplomatic efforts with China on Taiwan, Russia

NEW YORK (AP) — The Biden administration on Friday ramped up its diplomatic efforts to press China to end provocative actions against Taiwan and warned it about any active support for Russia in its war against Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made both cases in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on Friday in a meeting on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York, according to U.S. officials. The session was one of the few that Blinken kept on his schedule after the death of his father on Thursday. The officials wouldn’t describe the Chinese response, but said Foreign Minister Wang Yi was receptive to the messages and that the two men discussed the need “to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage the U.S.-China relationship, especially during times of tension.” The talks between Blinken and Wang come amid a period of intense tensions on both issues and ahead of an expected meeting in November between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping.

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Storm pounds Japan with rain, leaving landslides in its wake

TOKYO (AP) — Tropical Depression Talas unleashed fierce rainfall Saturday in parts of Japan, setting off landslides, halting trains and killing a man after he crashed his car into a pond. Police said the man who drove into a pond in central Japan’s Shizuoka prefecture was rushed to a hospital but died. In another part of Shizuoka, rescue efforts were underway after a road collapsed from the heavy rainfall, police said. Japanese media reports said one man managed to crawl out of a truck that got stuck but another man was missing. Separately, three people were injured in a mudslide in Shizuoka, according to a prefectural police spokesperson.

US aircraft carrier arrives in South Korea for joint drills

BUSAN, South Korea (AP) — The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived in the South Korean port of Busan on Friday ahead of the two countries’ joint military exercise that aims to show their strength against growing North Korean threats. The joint drills will be the first involving a U.S. aircraft carrier in the region since 2017, when the U.S. sent three aircraft carriers including the Reagan for naval drills with South Korea in response to North Korean nuclear and missile tests. The allies this year have revived their large-scale military drills that were downsized or shelved in previous years to support diplomacy with Pyongyang or because of COVID-19, responding to North Korea’s resumption of major weapons testing and increasing threats of nuclear conflicts with Seoul and Washington.

The AP Interview: Pakistani leader details flood devastation

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Flooding likely worsened by climate change has submerged one-third of Pakistan’s territory and left 33 million of its people scrambling to survive, according to Pakistan’s prime minister, who says he came to the United Nations this year to tell the world that “tomorrow, this tragedy can fall on some other country.” In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, Shahbaz Sharif exhorted world leaders gathered for their annual meeting at the General Assembly to stand together and raise resources “to build resilient infrastructure, to build adaptation, so that our future generations are saved.” The initial estimate of losses to the economy as a result of the three-month flooding disaster is $30 billion, Sharif said, and he asked U.N.

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Inflation, unrest challenge Bangladesh’s ‘miracle economy’

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DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Standing in line to try to buy food, Rekha Begum is distraught. Like many others in Bangladesh, she is struggling to find affordable daily essentials like rice, lentils and onions. “I went to two other places, but they told me they don’t have supplies. Then I came here and stood at the end of the queue,” said Begum, 60, as she waited for nearly two hours to buy what she needed from a truck selling food at subsidized prices in the capital, Dhaka. Bangladesh’s economic miracle is under severe strain as fuel price hikes amplify public frustrations over rising costs for food and other necessities.

Hong Kong to end mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s leader announced the city would no longer require incoming travelers to quarantine in designated hotels as it seeks to remain competitive and open up globally after nearly two years. Incoming travelers will also no longer need a negative PCR test within 48 hours before boarding a plane to Hong Kong, the city’s chief executive John Lee said Friday at a news conference. Instead, they will need to present a negative COVID-19 result from a rapid antigen test conducted within 24 hours before the flight. The measures will come into effect Monday. “While we can’t control the trend of the epidemic, we must allow the maximum room to allow connectivity with the world so that we can have economic momentum and to reduce inconvenience to arriving travelers,” said Lee, who also said that authorities will not roll back the measures announced Friday.

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Powerful quake shakes Indonesia, but no casualties reported

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A strong undersea earthquake shook Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh on Saturday, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties and officials said there was no threat of a tsunami. Witnesses said many people ran out of their homes to higher ground when the pre-dawn earthquake struck, but they later received text messages saying there was no danger of a tsunami. A massive quake off the coast of Aceh in 2004 triggered a powerful tsunami that killed around 230,000 people in a dozen countries. Saturday’s magnitude 6.2 quake was centered 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) south-southwest of Meulaboh, a coastal city in Aceh province at a depth of 49 kilometers (30.4 miles), the U.S.

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Pakistan’s prime minister talks Kashmir, floods at UN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif appealed for a peaceful end to the dispute over Kashmir and deplored regional instability, invoking the perennial themes of Pakistan’s U.N. addresses after dedicating the first half of his speech Friday to the ravages of recent floods. The flood-induced devastation, which Sharif described in biblical terms, means it’s incumbent on Pakistan to “ensure rapid economic growth and lift millions out of poverty and hunger,” he said. But in order to do so, Sharif said, Pakistan needs a “stable external environment” — that means peace in South Asia, which he said hinges on a resolution of the decadeslong dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.

They said it: Leaders at the UN, in their own words

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Many leaders saying many things about many topics that matter to them, to their regions, to the world: That’s what the U.N. General Assembly invariably produces each year. And each year, certain voices dominate. Here, The Associated Press takes the opposite approach and spotlights some thoughts — delivered universally from the rostrum at the United Nations following successive years of a virtual, then hybrid summit — from leaders who might have not captured the headlines and airtime on Friday, the fourth day of the 2022 debate. ___ “We are not a footnote.” — Siaosi ’Ofakivahafolau Sovaleni, prime minister of Tonga ___ “So, myself as a sufferer, I can rightly realize the pain and agony that people endure due to the horrors of war, killings, coups and conflicts.

Former Chinese deputy police minister sentenced for graft

BEIJING (AP) — A former deputy police minister who was accused of leading a crime gang of government officials was given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve Friday on charges of manipulating the stock market, taking bribes and other offenses, in a case that involved at least two former Cabinet officials, Chinese state TV reported. Sun Lijun’s conviction adds to a string of senior officials who have been punished in an anti-graft campaign launched after President Xi Jinping took power in late 2012 that some see as politically motivated. The latest penalty comes ahead of a meeting of the ruling Communist Party next month at which Xi is expected to try to break with tradition and award himself a third five-year term as leader.