TOKYO (AP) — The foreign and defense ministers from Japan and Russia met in Tokyo on Monday for the first "two-plus-two" talks since Russia's annexation of Ukraine. The one-day meeting comes as the sides work to end a decades-long territorial dispute that is blocking them from forging a peace treaty. At the same time, Japan, Russia, China and other countries are mulling how best to deal with North Korea's launches of missiles and its nuclear program. Plans by the U.S. and its ally South Korea to deploy a state-of-the-art missile defense system known as THAAD, meanwhile, have antagonized Beijing and Russia.
BEIJING (AP) — The United States is looking forward to the first meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday, on the final day of a swing through Asia dominated by concerns over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. In talks with Xi in Beijing, Tillerson said Trump places a "very high value" on communications with the Chinese president. Trump looks forward to "the opportunity of a visit in the future," Tillerson said, in an apparent reference to unconfirmed reports of plans for the two leaders to meet in Florida next month.
TOKYO (AP) — North Korea has conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine that leader Kim Jong Un is calling a revolutionary breakthrough for the country's space program, the North's state media said Sunday. Kim attended Saturday's test at the Sohae launch site, according to the Korean Central News Agency, which said the test was intended to confirm the "new type" of engine's thrust power and gauge the reliability of its control system and structural safety. Kim called the test "a great event of historic significance" for the country's indigenous rocket industry, the KCNA report said.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The once-cordial ties between South Korea and its biggest trading partner have soured due to the perception that China has targeted businesses, sports teams and culture to protest deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea. A South Korean candy maker, a chocolate factory, video games and a soccer team have suffered from actions many in South Korea view as retribution and Chinese have vandalized some South Korean-run stores. Beijing is incensed over the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system. The U.S. and South Korea say it's needed as a defense against a belligerent North Korea but China believes the system could be used against its own missiles as well.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — U.S. security officers have begun fingerprinting refugees held on Pacific islands in the final stage of assessing who will find new lives in the United States, asylum seekers said Monday. Department of Homeland Security officers are taking biometric details from refugees on Nauru, including fingerprints, heights and weights, according to a document circulated among asylum seekers and provided to AP by Mehdi, a refugee on the island nation who for security reasons did not want his family name published. U.S. officials began scheduling appointments with asylum seeker families on Nauru from Monday, Mehdi said. Refugees had been given no indication of how long the security vetting process would take, he said.
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — An Australian teen who was attacked by a crocodile after jumping into a crocodile-infested river on a dare was recovering from serious wounds to his arm, officials said Monday, as authorities recovered the body of another man who also may have been attacked by a crocodile in nearby waters. Lee de Paauw, an 18-year-old from Queensland state, was at a hostel in the northern Queensland town of Innisfail around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday when he started bragging that he could swim in the river, a known habitat for aggressive saltwater crocodiles, said Sophie Paterson, a British backpacker who was at the hostel.
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A family member says the two prominent Indian Muslim clerics who were reported missing during a visit to Pakistan earlier this month have returned safely, saying they were travelling in a remote area with no cellular service. Waziruddin Nizami said Sunday that his uncle Asif Ali Nizami, the custodian of a famed Sufi shrine in New Delhi, and another cleric returned to Karachi after visiting followers in rural areas of Sindh province. Nizami said he had filing a missing person report with police after family members lost contact with the pair. The clerics, who came to Pakistan in early March, will return to India Monday.
BEIJING (AP) — China's trading partners are bringing the top U.N. food standards official to Beijing in a last-ditch attempt to persuade regulators to scale back plans to require intensive inspections of food imports — including such low-risk items as wine and chocolate — that Washington and Europe say could disrupt billions of dollars in commerce. The rule could inflame tensions with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has promised to raise tariffs on imports from China, and the European Union. Under the rule, due to take effect as early as October, each consignment of food would require a certificate from a foreign inspector confirming it meets Chinese quality standards.
NEW DELHI (AP) — A hard-line Hindu religious leader was sworn in Sunday as the chief minister of India's most populous state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of India's ruling party attended a ceremony in the Uttar Pradesh state capital of Lucknow, where Yogi Adityanath took the oath of office. Adityanath is a five-time member of Parliament who has offended many in the country with his polarizing statements attacking the Muslim community. The 44-year-old Adityanath has won the parliamentary seat from Gorakhpur district in Uttar Pradesh since 1998. He is also the head priest of a temple in Gorakhpur.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian police said Sunday that they are hunting for more North Korean suspects over the killing of the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said the new suspects are in addition to the seven North Koreans already being sought in last month's poisoning death of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur's airport. Khalid said the new suspects include an "important person," but he declined to give further details. "I do not deny that there are more North Koreans involved in the murder of Kim Jong Nam. We will follow the legal channel to get them," he said.