Top Asian News 12:18 a.m. GMT
TORONTO (AP) — China, the U.S. and Canada completed a high-stakes prisoner swap with joyous homecomings for two Canadians held by China and for an executive of Chinese global communications giant Huawei Technologies charged with fraud, potentially bringing closure to a 3-year feud that embroiled the three countries. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hugged diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor on the tarmac after they landed in Calgary, Alberta early Saturday. The men were detained in China in Dec. 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, on a U.S.
SHENZHEN, China (AP) — An executive of Chinese global communications giant Huawei Technologies returned from Canada Saturday night following a legal settlement that also saw the release of two Canadians held by China, potentially bringing closure to a nearly 3-year-long feud embroiling Ottawa, Beijing and Washington. Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, arrived Saturday evening aboard a chartered jet provided by flag carrier Air China in the southern technology hub of Shenzhen, where Huawei is based. Her return, met with a flag-waving group of airline employees, was carried live on state TV, underscoring the degree to which Beijing has linked her case with Chinese nationalism and its rise as a global economic and political power.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban hanged a dead body from a crane parked in a city square in Afghanistan on Saturday in a gruesome display that signaled the hard-line movement’s return to some of its brutal tactics of the past. Taliban officials initially brought four bodies to the central square in the western city of Herat, then moved three of them to other parts of the city for public display, said Wazir Ahmad Seddiqi, who runs a pharmacy on the edge of the square. Taliban officials announced that the four were caught taking part in a kidnapping earlier Saturday and were killed by police, Seddiqi said.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia, China, Pakistan and the United States are working together to ensure that Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers keep their promises, especially to form a genuinely representative government and prevent extremism from spreading, Russia’s foreign minister said Saturday. Sergey Lavrov said the four countries are in ongoing contact. He said representatives from Russia, China and Pakistan recently traveled to Qatar and then to Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, to engage with both the Taliban and representatives of “secular authorities” — former president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who headed the ousted government’s negotiating council with the Taliban. Lavrov said the interim government announced by the Taliban does not reflect “the whole gamut of Afghan society — ethno-religious and political forces — so we are engaging in contacts.
HONG KONG (AP) — The Hong Kong group that had organized annual vigils in remembrance of victims of the Chinese military’s crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests voted to disband Saturday amid an ongoing crackdown on independent political activism in the semi-autonomous city. Police had notified the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China last month that it was under investigation for working for foreign interests, an accusation the group denied. While it called the probe an abuse of power, core members voted 41-4 at a meeting on Saturday to lay the 32-year-old group to rest.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Saturday that her country will take steps to repair ties with South Korea, and may even discuss another summit between their leaders, if the South drops what she described as hostility and double standards. The comments by Kim Yo Jong followed a similar statement she issued Friday that the North was willing to resume talks with the South if certain conditions were met. Analysts say North Korea is using South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s desire for inter-Korean engagement to pressure Seoul to persuade the Biden administration to ease crippling U.S.-led sanctions over the North’s nuclear weapons program or suspend combined U.S.-South Korean military exercises.
NEW YORK (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t directly mention Pakistan or China in his Saturday speech to the United Nations General Assembly, but the targets of his address were clear. In a roughly 20-minute speech delivered in-person and in Hindi, he called upon the international community to help the women, children and minorities of Afghanistan and said that it was imperative the country not be used as a base from which to spread terror. “We also need to be alert and ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation there, and use it as a tool for its own selfish interests,” he said in an apparent reference to Pakistan, wedged between Afghanistan and India.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan’s main opposition Nationalist Party chose former leader Eric Chu as its new chairperson Saturday in an election overshadowed by increasing pressure from neighbor China. Four candidates, including incumbent chair Johnny Chiang, had competed for the leadership of the party that has advocated closer relations with Beijing. That means agreeing to Beijing’s demand that it regard Taiwan as a part of China, something Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party has refused to do. China has threatened to use force to bring Taiwan under its control and has increasingly mobilized military, diplomatic and economic pressure in an attempt to undermine the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen and sway opinion among the Taiwanese people, who strongly favor the status quo of de-facto independence.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Taliban’s takeover of Kabul has deepened the mutual distrust between the U.S. and Pakistan, putative allies who have tangled over Afghanistan. But both sides still need each other. As the Biden administration looks for new ways to stop terrorist threats in Afghanistan, it probably will look again to Pakistan, which remains critical to U.S. intelligence and national security because of its proximity to Afghanistan and connections to the Taliban leaders now in charge. Over two decades of war, American officials accused Pakistan of playing a double game by promising to fight terrorism and cooperate with Washington while cultivating the Taliban and other extremist groups that attacked U.S.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The dispute between Myanmar’s military rulers and the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi that they ousted about who should represent the country at the United Nations hasn’t been resolved. But what appears virtually certain is that neither will speak at the General Assembly’s annual meeting of world leaders. Myanmar was scheduled to be one of the final speakers at the six-day gathering on Monday afternoon. But U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday, “At this point, Myanmar is not speaking.” Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in July that he had appointed Aung Thurein, who left the military this year after 26 years, as Myanmar’s U.N.