Top Asian News 3:39 a.m. GMT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile Sunday toward its eastern seas, extending a provocative streak in weapons testing as a U.S. aircraft carrier visits South Korea for joint military exercises in response to the North’s growing nuclear threat. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile launched from the western inland town of Taechon flew 600 kilometers (370 miles) cross-country on a maximum altitude of 60 kilometers (37 miles) before landing in waters off North Korea’s eastern coast. South Korea’s presidential office said National Security Director Kim Sung-han called an emergency National Security Council meeting where members denounced the launch as a clear violation of U.N.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — China underscored its commitment Saturday to its claim on Taiwan, telling assembled world leaders that anyone who gets in the way of its determination to reunify with the self-governing island would be “crushed by the wheels of history.” The language was forceful but, for Chinese leadership, well within the realm of normal. “Only when China is fully reunified can there be true peace across the Taiwan Strait,” Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, said at the U.N. General Assembly. He said Beijing would “take the most forceful steps to oppose external interference.” China regularly and vehemently defends its claim to Taiwan, which separated from the mainland after a 1949 civil war and now functions with its own government.
BANGKOK (AP) — A Chinese scientific ship bristling with surveillance equipment docked in a Sri Lankan port. Hundreds of fishing boats anchored for months at a time among disputed islands in the South China Sea. And ocean-going ferries, built to be capable of carrying heavy vehicles and large loads of people. All are ostensibly civilian ships, but experts and uneasy regional governments say they are part of a Chinese civil-military fusion strategy, little concealed by Beijing, that enhances its maritime capabilities. China’s navy is already the world’s largest by ship count, and has been rapidly building new warships as part of a wider military expansion.
KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — A group of Sri Lankans held captive by Russian forces in an agricultural factory in eastern Ukraine said Saturday that they were beaten and abused for months before escaping on foot as the Russians withdrew from the Kharkiv region this month. Recounting their ordeal to reporters in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, one of the seven Sri Lankans said he was shot in the foot; another had his toenail ripped off and was slammed in the head with the butt of a rifle. Ukrainian officials described their treatment as torture. “Every day we were cleaning toilets and bathrooms,” Dilukshan Robertclive, one of the former captives, said in English.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — India’s foreign minister laid out the country’s plans for its turn at the G-20 presidency during his speech Saturday in front of the U.N. General Assembly. India assumes the mantle of the consortium of leading developed and developing nations in December. Subramanyam Jaishankar said India’s approach would be “based on principles of mutual respect and national ownership with a commitment to sustainable development for all.” Among India’s priority issues: the growing debt in weak economies, economic expansion, food and energy security, the environment and “the reform of governance of multilateral financial institutions.” While India has expressed concerns over Russia’s war in Ukraine, the South Asian country — famously nonaligned during the Cold War — has maintained a neutral stance, refusing to abrogate business ties with Russia and join Western sanctions.
NEW YORK (AP) — Looking to “reintroduce the Philippines” to the world, new President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ambitious plans for his nation on the international stage and at home — if, that is, the twin specters of pandemic and climate change can be overcome or at least managed. And if he can surmount the legacies of two people: his predecessor, and his father. He also wants to strengthen ties with both the United States and China — a delicate balancing act for the Southeast Asian nation — and, like many of his fellow leaders at the United Nations this week, called on the countries that have caused global warming to help less wealthy nations counteract its effects.
SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (AP) — Chinese survivors from a boat that sank near a Cambodian island, killing three people and leaving eight missing, said they embarked on what they believed would be a short-term fishing job and ended up without food and water aboard the vessel and their belongings taken away. Cambodian authorities said Friday they rescued 21 people a day after the boat small wooden fishing vessel sank near Koh Tang, a Cambodian island close to the maritime border with Vietnam. Kheang Phearom, a spokesperson for Cambodia’s Preah Sihanouk province, announced Saturday on his Facebook page that nine more people were rescued by the Vietnamese and three bodies were recovered by Cambodia, leaving eight people still missing.
LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Hazardous weather has killed at least 36 people in northern India over the past 24 hours, including 12 who who were struck by lightning, officials said as they warned of more heavy downpours in the coming days. Across the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, at least 24 people died after their homes collapsed amid unrelenting rains, Relief Commissioner Ranvir Prasad said. Mohamed Usman, 15, was on his friend’s roof in the city of Prayagraj when lightning struck Friday evening, killing him instantly. His friend Aznan, who goes by one name, was injured and is being treated in a hospital.
BANGKOK (AP) — Authorities in Laos have made their third largest seizure ever of methamphetamine, confiscating a haul of 33 million tablets along with 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine, an official with the U.N. anti-crime agency said Saturday. The huge bust came after 200,000 tablets were found Friday night in a truck that was stopped at a checkpoint in the northwestern province of Bokeo, said Jeremy Douglas, the regional representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. That action exposed a trafficking group and its plans, leading to the far bigger seizure following the driver’s interrogation.