YOKOSUKA, Japan (AP) — From the wind-swept deck of a massive aircraft carrier, Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday warned North Korea not to test the resolve of the U.S. military, promising it would make an "overwhelming and effective" response to any use of conventional or nuclear weapons. Pence, dressed in a green military jacket, said aboard the hulking USS Ronald Reagan that President Donald Trump's administration would continue to "work diligently" with allies like Japan, China and other global powers to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang. But he told the sailors, "as all of you know, readiness is the key.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has once again pledged the Trump administration's commitment to defending its allies in Asia from North Korea and any other threats. Speaking to U.S. and Japanese troops on board the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier Wednesday, he called North Korea the most urgent and dangerous threat to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region. He said that under President Donald Trump, the U.S. will stand up to its enemies with its allies. Pence also said the U.S. would protect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the sea lanes vital to global shipping where China has been staking claim to disputed territory.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Millions of Indonesians in the capital Jakarta are electing a governor Wednesday after a polarizing campaign that undermined the country's reputation for practicing a tolerant form of Islam. The runoff election pits the minority Christian incumbent, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, against a former Cabinet minister, Anies Baswedan, who has courted the support of conservative clerics who oppose electing a non-Muslim. The Jakarta election battle has cracked open religious and ethnic fault-lines and highlighted the growing strength of hard-line Islamic groups in the world's most populous Muslim nation. Massive protests against Ahok, who is on trial for blaspheming the Quran, shook the centrist minded government of his ally President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump congratulated Turkey's president for sweeping up more power. He hailed Egypt's strongman leader as a "fantastic guy." When China's president visited, Trump touted a burgeoning friendship and made no public mention of Beijing's dismal human rights record. Since taking office, Trump has displayed a striking willingness to embrace autocrats as potential partners in his "America First" agenda, even if it means ignoring their heavy-handed tactics and repression at home. It's a posture he also took toward Russian President Vladimir Putin until a dispute over Syria led him last week to declare U.S.-Russian ties at an "all-time low."
SHANGHAI (AP) — Since her father was elected president of the United States, global sales of Ivanka Trump merchandise have surged and the company has applied for at least nine new trademarks in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canada and the U.S. The commercial engine of the first daughter's brand is stronger than ever even as she builds a new political career from her West Wing office. Sales hit record levels in 2017, despite boycotts and several stores limiting her merchandise. U.S. imports, almost all from China, shot up an estimated 166 percent last year. The brand, which Ivanka Trump no longer manages but still owns, says distribution is growing.
BEIJING (AP) — China and the European Union are holding their first high-level talks since President Donald Trump took office, with both eager to push a message of free trade and open engagement with the world. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will co-chair the Seventh EU-China Strategic Dialogue on Wednesday with State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China's highest-ranking diplomat. They will discuss cooperation on issues such as climate change, as well as regional and security issues. The dialogue comes ahead of an EU-China summit scheduled for Brussels in June. On Tuesday, Mogherini met with Premier Li Keqiang who told her the international community was looking at how China and the EU would work together to tackle challenges including the world economic recovery, global conflicts and terrorism, and Britain's pending withdrawal from the EU.
BEIJING (AP) — China defended its trade practices on Tuesday after Chinese-made vehicles were seen towing ballistic missiles during a North Korea military parade despite international sanctions against selling military hardware to Pyongyang. Saturday's parade honoring North Korea's country's founder, Kim Il Sung, came amid heightened tensions over the country's nuclear ambitions. It featured a senior official, Choe Ryong Hae, warning of "all-out war" if North Korea is attacked. Photos provided by the North Korean government showed the submarine-launched missiles being pulled by trucks bearing the logo of the Chinese company Sinotruk. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China conducts "normal" business with its neighbor North Korea while adhering to sanctions imposed beginning in 2006 by the U.N.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says North Korea's latest failed missile launch was a reckless act of provocation. Mattis commented on the weekend missile launch in an interview with reporters traveling with him Tuesday to Saudi Arabia, where he begins a weeklong Mideast tour. His language was stronger than in an initial written statement he issued shortly after the launch, in which he simply said he was aware of the failure. "The leader of North Korea again recklessly tried to provoke something by launching a missile," he said Tuesday, invoking a term — "reckless" — that the North Koreans have used to describe ongoing large-scale U.S.
NEW DELHI (AP) — British police on Tuesday arrested Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya in London on behalf of authorities in India, where he is wanted on charges of money laundering and bank demands that he pay back more than a billion dollars in loans extended to his now-defunct airline. Mallya was arrested after showing up at a police station early Tuesday, said a statement from the Metropolitan Police in London. At a preliminary hearing, Mallya was granted conditional bail and released with the case adjourned until May 17. In New Delhi, the government hailed Mallya's arrest, saying it would not spare anyone who indulged in fraud.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Passengers were screaming in horror as the bus driver repeatedly hit the brakes, shouting they weren't working, before the vehicle plunged into a ravine in the northern Philippines, killing at least 31 people in one of the country's deadliest recent crashes, officials said Wednesday. The 46 passengers injured in Tuesday's crash were retrieved by rescuers who struggled with ropes to descend down the 24-meter (80-foot) deep ravine to reach the wreckage in Nueva Ecija province's Carranglan town, said Senior Supt. Antonio Yarra, the provincial police chief. He said at least 77 people were on board the vehicle based on the number of dead and injured, but rescuers returned to the crash site Wednesday morning to look in the grassy area for other possible victims.