PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A U.S. guided-missile submarine arrived in South Korea on Tuesday and envoys from the U.S., Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo, as North Korea prepared to mark the anniversary of the founding of its military. Although a major event around the anniversary was viewed as possible, the morning came and went without any nuclear tests or ballistic missile launches. All that was publicly scheduled for the day were gatherings for mass dancing, a common celebration on major North Korean holidays. At a "national meeting" of thousands of senior military and civilian officials the day before, North Korea's Minister of Defense Gen.
South Korea says a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine has docked in the southern port of Busan, but it isn't expected to participate in joint naval exercises with South Korea. An official from South Korea's navy said Tuesday the USS Michigan is making a routine stop to rest its crews and reload supplies. The submarine arrived on the same day North Korea celebrates the anniversary of the founding of its military. North Korea often marks significant dates with show of military capability, and South Korean officials have said the North could be preparing another round of nuclear or missile tests around the anniversary.
BEIJING (AP) — China is not allowing Chinese construction crews to work in the West Bank because it opposes Israeli settlements in what it considers occupied Palestinian territory. Israel officials said Sunday they had signed a deal with China to bring Chinese construction crews to Israel. They would not address reports that the work would be restricted to only some areas. A Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman confirmed the West Bank restrictions Monday. Spokesman Geng Shuang says China values its relationship with Israel but "opposes the construction of Jewish settlements on Palestine's occupied territory." Geng cited a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in December declaring the settlements illegal.
BEIJING (AP) — China's conversion of coal into natural gas could prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. But there's a catch: As the country shifts its use of vast coal reserves to send less smog-inducing chemicals into the air, the move threatens to undermine efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, researchers said Tuesday. The environmental trade-off points to the difficult choices confronting leaders of the world's second largest economy as they struggle to balance public health and financial growth with international climate change commitments. Between 20,000 and 41,000 premature deaths annually could be prevented by converting low-quality coal in the country's western provinces into synthetic natural gas for residential use, according to the findings of researchers from the United States and China published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
WASHINGTON (AP) — As the world braces for a possible North Korean nuclear test, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday urged restraint in a call to President Donald Trump. America's U.N. envoy warned of a strike if Pyongyang attacks a U.S. military base or tests an intercontinental ballistic missile. Xi's phone call with Trump came amid signs Pyongyang could soon conduct its sixth nuclear test explosion since 2006, or the latest in a rapid series of missile tests, further advancing its ambitions of developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the U.S. mainland. In Washington, the Trump administration invited the entire 100-member Senate for a briefing Wednesday on the escalating crisis.
The top American general in Afghanistan is suggesting that Russia is arming the Taliban. At a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at his side, Gen. John Nicholson avoided offering specifics about Russia's involvement in the Afghan war. But said he wouldn't dispute that it includes Moscow providing weapons to the Taliban. Nicholson also said that in view of the sophisticated planning behind last Friday's massacre of more than 140 Afghan troops at a military base, "it's quite possible" that the Pakistan-based Haqqani network was responsible. The Taliban claimed it carried out the attack.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The United States must confront Russia for providing weapons to the Taliban for use against American-backed forces in Afghanistan, top U.S. military officials said Monday. At a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at his side, Gen. John Nicholson, the American commander in Afghanistan, wouldn't provide specifics about Russia's role in Afghanistan. But said he would "not refute" that Moscow's involvement includes giving weapons to the Taliban. Earlier Monday, a senior U.S. military official told reporters in Kabul that Russia was giving machine guns and other medium-weight weapons. The Taliban are using the weapons in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan, according to the official, who briefed journalists on intelligence information on condition of anonymity.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's army chief and defense minister resigned on Monday, following a Taliban attack over the weekend that struck a northern army base, killing more than 100 military and other personnel, officials said. The attack — the biggest ever by the Taliban on a military base in Afghanistan — involved multiple gunmen and suicide bombers in army uniforms who penetrated the compound of the 209th Corps of the Afghan National Army in northern Balkh province on Friday, killing and wounding scores. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault, which according to some estimates killed over 130 people. Also on Monday, a police official said at least four security guards were killed when a suicide bomber attacked their checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan.
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — He was documenting a protest by dozens of Kashmiri students confronting armed Indian government forces wearing riot gear. But when an 18-year-old was hit in the head and began bleeding profusely, the Associated Press photographer put down his camera and rushed in to help her. "It was an instant decision, and I didn't think twice," Dar Yasin said. He explained that he was closest to the woman and so best able to help. "I gave my camera to a colleague. ... I took the injured girl in my arms." The scene soon became chaotic. Other protesters became angry when they saw the woman bleeding and hurled stones at the police and paramilitary soldiers, who retaliated with tear gas.
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Anti-India protests triggered clashes between students and government forces in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on Monday, as authorities reopened schools after a weeklong suspension of classes. Government forces used tear gas and water cannons to stop students from marching in the main commercial area of Srinagar, the key city in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The students retaliated by hurling rocks and breaching the barricades set up by police and paramilitary soldiers. They chanted "Go India, go back" and "We want freedom." Some students were reportedly injured in the clashes. With residents joining the students, the clashes with government forces spilled into main streets in the city's main commercial center of Lal Chowk.