SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Is North Korea agonizing? Just not interested? Something else? At the start of the week, South Korea offered to hold rare face-to-face talks with North Korea at their shared border village in the Demilitarized Zone. One set of talks was proposed for Friday to discuss easing military confrontations and another on Aug. 1 to discuss restarting reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. The day for the first talks came without a response from the North. A look at what North Korea’s silence may mean for new South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s outreach to the North and future ties between the rival countries.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Friday urged North Korea to accept its offers for talks as Pyongyang continued to ignore Seoul’s proposal for a military meeting to ease animosities along their tense border. South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it has become difficult to hold the meeting Seoul had originally proposed for Friday and called for the North to “quickly accept” the overture for talks. “Easing the military tension between the South and North and restoring the military dialogue channel are very urgent tasks for peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula,” the ministry said in a statement. North Korea has yet to respond to South Korea’s proposal to hold the military meeting and a separate meeting next month to resume the temporary reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
BEIJING (AP) — Is the outsize role played by China’s government in its economy to blame for its multibillion-dollar trade surpluses with the United States? Yes, says U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. But economists say while Beijing hampers access to its markets, the bulk of China’s trade surplus stems from its role in complex global manufacturing chains instead of trade policy. Here’s a look at some of the key questions. ___ WHAT IS THE ADMINISTRATION ACCUSING CHINA OF? U.S. President Donald Trump temporarily set aside complaints about market access and currency in April in hopes Beijing would help pressure North Korea to end nuclear weapons development.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Officials say Pakistan’s supreme court has concluded its hearing into the corruption case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but it wasn’t immediately clear when a verdict would be announced. Attorneys involved in the case said Friday the court heard arguments from both the government and opposition after a court-ordered investigation found “significant disparity” between declared wealth and known sources of income of Sharif and his family. Opposition lawmakers have been fighting a legal battle to disqualify Sharif from service as prime minister. Under the country’s laws, the court has that power. Sharif has been under pressure since documents leaked in 2016 from a Panama-based law firm disclosed that his family had offshore accounts.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The attack by Islamic State group-affiliated militants on a Philippine city has galvanized its Southeast Asian supporters and spells trouble for the region, a top terrorism researcher said Friday as the occupation of Marawi nears two months despite a sustained military offensive. In a new report , Sidney Jones, an expert on militant networks in Southeast Asia at the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, said there now may be a higher risk of attacks in other Philippine cities and cooperation between militants across regional borders could expand. Militants in Indonesia and Malaysia will want to redouble efforts to attack police and may also lift their sights to targeting foreigners, she said.
TOKYO (AP) — British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Friday his country stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Japan in efforts to put an end to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests. “We all need to increase the pressure on Pyongyang through diplomacy and sanctions, and that must include China using its influence to bring North Korea back to the negotiation table,” he said after meeting his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida. Johnson called North Korea’s recent launch of its first intercontinental ballistic missile, Hwasong-14, in early July, “a reckless provocation.” Beyond shared security threats, the two officials confirmed the strong economic relationship between Japan and the UK post-Brexit.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia was disappointed that hundreds of its rejected refugees would not begin resettling in the United States this month under a deal that predates President Donald Trump’s administration, an official said on Friday. President Barack Obama’s administration agreed to accept up to 1,250 refugees among hundreds of asylum seekers — mostly from Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka — who have been languishing for up to four years in immigration camps on the impoverished Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said Australia wanted the refugees to start moving in July, but the United States had already filled its 50,000 refugee quota for the current fiscal year.
KYAR GAUNG TAUNG, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s military has a big public relations problem: It stands accused of committing genocide. Which is why I was among 14 international journalists escorted to a village in northern Rakhine state this past week on a guided press tour — the first time we were allowed into this area since last October, when the army began an aggressive counterinsurgency campaign in the heartland of the country’s oppressed Muslim ethnic Rohingya minority. The idea was to show that the army’s hands are clean and to display openness, even as the government refuses to allow a human rights fact-finding team from the United Nations to enter the country.
BEIJING (AP) — A massive explosion hit a food shop in eastern China during the breakfast rush Friday, killing two people and injuring 55, 12 of them seriously, officials said. Video from a security camera located down the street from the shop in the eastern resort city of Hangzhou showed the blast flinging dust and debris across a major road traversed by cars, buses, bicycles and scooters. The official Xinhua News Agency said glass was blown out of the windows of vehicles and buildings within a wide radius of the shop. Flames leaped from the building, and state broadcaster CCTV later showed charred shop fronts facing the street in the residential area.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The mother of an American college student arrested in central China following an altercation with a taxi driver five weeks earlier said police are demanding the equivalent of a $7,400 “ransom” for his release. Jennifer McLean has not been allowed to see or communicate with her 25-year-old son, Guthrie, since his Sunday arrest on charges of intentional injury to the taxi driver, she said Thursday in an email to The Associated Press. During a June 10 fare dispute in the city of Zhengzhou, Guthrie McLean pushed the driver to the ground because the driver was roughing up his mother, who is hearing impaired, according to family friend Tom Mitchell, the Beijing bureau chief for The Financial Times, and U.S.