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Top Asian News 3:56 a.m. GMT

September 16, 2022 GMT

China’s top legislator to meet S. Korea leaders for talks

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — China’s top legislator was set to meet South Korean leaders including new President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul on Friday, as Yoon’s push to buttress a military alliance with Washington has caused concerns that it could hamper Seoul’s ties with Beijing. Li Zhanshu, third in the Chinese Communist Party hierarchy and one of President Xi Jinping’s closest confidants, is the highest-level Chinese official to visit South Korea since his predecessor came here in 2015. Li’s trip is seen as part of Beijing’s efforts to boost ties with neighboring countries ahead of a Communist Party congress next month that will likely grant Xi a third five-year term as leader.

Putin thanks China’s Xi for his ‘balanced’ stand on Ukraine

SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday for his “balanced” approach to the Ukrainian crisis and blasted Washington’s “ugly” policies at a meeting that followed a major setback for Moscow on the battlefield. Speaking at the start of talks with Xi in Uzbekistan, Putin said he was ready to discuss unspecified “concerns” by China about Ukraine. “We highly appreciate the well-balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis,” Putin said, facing Xi across a long table. “We understand your questions and your concerns in this regard, and we certainly will offer a detailed explanation of our stand on this issue during today’s meeting, even though we already talked about it earlier,” he added.

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Warming, other factors worsened Pakistan floods, study finds

Climate change likely juiced rainfall by up to 50% late last month in two southern Pakistan provinces, but global warming wasn’t the biggest cause of the country’s catastrophic flooding that has killed more than 1,500 people, a new scientific analysis finds. Pakistan’s overall vulnerability, including people living in harm’s way, is the chief factor in the disaster that at one point submerged one-third of the country under water, but human-caused “climate change also plays a really important role here,” said study senior author Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College of London. There are many ingredients to the still ongoing humanitarian crisis — some meteorological, some economic, some societal, some historic and construction oriented.

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AP Week in Pictures: Asia

Sept. 9-15, 2022 This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in Asia and Pacific. The gallery was curated by AP photo editor Masayo Yoshida in Tokyo. Follow AP visual journalism: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/apnews AP Images on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Images AP Images blog: http://apimagesblog.com

A new space race? China adds urgency to US return to moon

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s not just rocket fuel propelling America’s first moonshot after a half-century lull. Strategic rivalry with China’s ambitious space program is helping drive NASA’s effort to get back into space in a bigger way, as both nations push to put people back on the moon and establish the first lunar bases. American intelligence, military and political leaders make clear they see a host of strategic challenges to the U.S. in China’s space program, in an echo of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry that prompted the 1960s’ race to the moon. That’s as China is quickly matching U.S. civil and military space accomplishments and notching new ones of its own.

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Biden order sharpens foreign investment screening process

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday signed an executive order that administration officials say aims to sharpen the national security considerations taken in the federal government’s review process for foreign investment in the United States. Administration officials said the the order will bolster oversight by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency group tasked with reviewing deals and mergers involving foreign people and entities. The committee, known as CFIUS, is made up of members of the departments of State, Defense, Justice, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security and is led by the Treasury secretary. It sends its findings and a recommendation to the president, who has the power to suspend or prohibit a deal.

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China slams US Senate bill supporting Taiwan’s defense

BANGKOK (AP) — China’s Foreign Ministry accused the United States of violating its commitment to the “One China” principle and interfering in internal Chinese affairs Thursday, after the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee approved a new bill that could significantly increase American defense support for the island of Taiwan. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters in Beijing that China had “lodged serious complaints” with Washington over the legislation, which still needs U.S. House and President Joe Biden’s approval to become law. “The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-U.S. relations,” she said. “If the bill continues to be deliberated, pushed forward or even signed into law, it will greatly shake the political foundation of China-U.S.

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Pope laments missed chance to improve ties with China

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis said Thursday that he didn’t understand China but respected it, as another opportunity to improve ties came and went when the pope and Chinese president were within a few miles (kilometers) of one another in Kazakhstan but didn’t meet. The Holy See had sent an “expression of availability” to Beijing that Francis would be free to meet with President Xi Jinping during the Chinese leader’s brief state visit Wednesday to the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan. But China replied there wouldn’t be time, a Vatican official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He had a state visit but I didn’t see him,” Francis said Thursday during an in-flight press conference on his trip home from Kazakhstan, where he attended an interfaith conference.

Cambodia begins treason trial of 37 opposition figures

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodian activists and former opposition lawmakers accused of trying to help an exiled political candidate return home stood trial on treason charges Thursday with few of the defendants in attendance. Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and several top leaders of the disbanded Cambodia National Rescue Party were among those absent, being either in exile or in hiding to escape what they deem to be political persecution. Just three of the 37 defendants showed up for the hearing in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, defense lawyer Sam Sokong said. The CNRP was disbanded just ahead of the 2018 general election by a court that ruled the opposition party had plotted to overthrow Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose authoritarian rule has kept him in power for 37 years.

Myanmar court sentences journalist to 3 years in prison

BANGKOK (AP) — A court in military-ruled Myanmar sentenced a freelance journalist associated with the international broadcaster BBC to three years in prison with labor on Thursday after she was found guilty of incitement, a legal official said. Htet Htet Khine, who presented a program called “Khan Sar Kyi” — “Feel It” — for BBC Media Action, still faces an additional charge of unlawful association under which she could receive up to another three years in prison. The documentary program, on which she worked from 2016 to 2020, showed the problems of people across the country caused by years of unrest and conflict.