TOKYO (AP) — Malaysian police investigating the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half brother believe they know somebody who might help them solve one of the most bizarre murder mysteries they have ever faced. They know his name, his nationality and have a pretty good idea where he's holed up. The problem is he's a North Korean diplomat. It's unusual for any country to simply hand over a diplomat, no matter the alleged crime. Two years ago, for example, a Saudi Arabian diplomat accused of repeatedly raping and abusing two Nepalese maids left India under cover of diplomatic immunity.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's intelligence service told lawmakers Monday that four North Korean government spies were involved in the killing of the estranged half brother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un. Lawmakers cited the National Intelligence Service as telling them in a private briefing that four of the North Koreans identified as suspects by Malaysian police investigating the Feb. 13 death of Kim Jong Nam are from the Ministry of State Security, the North's spy organ. The NIS was quoted as saying that two other suspects are affiliated with Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry, according to Lee Cheol Woo, one of the lawmakers who attended the briefing.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea executed five senior security officials with anti-aircraft guns because they made false reports that "enraged" leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea's spy agency said Monday. The comments by the National Intelligence Service in a private briefing to lawmakers come as Malaysia investigates the poisoning death of Kim's estranged elder half brother, Kim Jong Nam. That investigation is still going on, but South Korea says it believes Kim Jong Un ordered the assassination, which took place Feb. 13 at Kuala Lumpur's airport. The spy agency told lawmakers that five North Korean officials in the department of recently purged state security chief Kim Won Hong were executed by anti-aircraft guns because of the false reports to Kim, South Korean lawmaker Lee Cheol Woo said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump met China's top foreign policy adviser Monday, and U.S. officials huddled with key Asian powers to discuss tensions with North Korea, which have been stoked by a recent missile test and an airport killing officials believe was ordered by Pyongyang. State Councilor Yang Jiechi is the first senior Chinese official to visit the U.S. since Trump took office five weeks ago. Yang led a six-member delegation in talks first with Trump's new national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, senior Trump adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and others. The two sides "discussed shared interests in national security," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, without elaborating.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Security Council on Monday condemned North Korea's "irresponsible and provocative" attempts to evade U.N. sanctions. Council members emphasized "the importance of full compliance" with the six rounds of increasingly tougher sanctions in a statement after closed-door discussions. North Korea continues to defy the sanctions dating back to 2006, carrying out nuclear and ballistic missile tests to develop the ability to deliver nuclear weapons at long distances. Its leader, Kim Jong Un, has also been accused by South Korea of sending agents to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to kill his half brother Kim Jong Nam using what Malaysian police said was VX nerve agent, a banned chemical weapon.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Amid renewed tensions between Beijing and Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday marked the 70th anniversary of a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters that is widely seen as a rejection of China's claims to the self-governing island democracy. The protests that began on Feb. 28, 1947, were directed at the corrupt rule of Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese Nationalist Party that had taken control of the former Japanese colony less than two years earlier. China considers the uprising a part of the overall struggle that led to the communist victory in 1949, while many Taiwanese see it as a backlash against attempts to govern the island from China without the consent of the island's native population.
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's prisons fail to meet international standards, with inmates routinely shackled, stuffed into overcrowded cells and forced to work in harsh conditions, an international human rights group said Tuesday. Thailand also has the highest incarceration rate in Southeast Asia, jailing 425 out of every 100,000 people, according to the report by the International Federation for Human Rights. There are more than 260,000 inmates in 148 prisons with an originally estimated capacity of less than 120,000, the report said, with the massive overcrowding forcing the inmates to live in harsh conditions. Most inmates were convicted on drug-related charges, the legacy of a war on drugs launched by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2003.
TOKYO (AP) — The emperor and empress of Japan departed Tuesday for a one-week trip to Vietnam and Thailand. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will spend most of the week in Vietnam, with an overnight stop in Bangkok on Sunday before returning home. Their visit to Vietnam comes at a time of growing ties between the two countries. Many Japanese companies have built factories in Vietnam, and Vietnamese are among the largest groups of foreign students in Japan. The 83-year-old emperor and his 82-year-old wife will meet with surviving widows and children of Japanese soldiers who stayed in Vietnam after World War II, but then had to leave after the communists took control of the north in 1954.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's main opposition parties threatened Monday to impeach the country's acting leader after he refused to extend a special investigation into the huge corruption scandal that toppled conservative President Park Geun-hye. If successful, the impeachment of Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn would rile an already tumultuous political landscape, putting another interim leader in power while the Constitutional Court decides the fate of both Hwang and Park, who's now on trial. On Monday, Hwang refused a request by the investigation team to extend its probe past Tuesday's deadline. A spokesman for Hwang said the team led by independent counsel Park Young-soo has already indicted key figures implicated in the scandal and that state prosecutors can look into any other areas.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Abu Sayyaf extremists in the Philippines released a video showing the beheading of a German hostage in the first sign the brutal Filipino militants carried out a threat to kill him after a ransom deadline lapsed over the weekend. President Rodrigo Duterte's adviser dealing with Muslim rebel groups, Jesus Dureza, condemned the killing of Jurgen Gustav Kantner as barbaric, saying the Philippine military and other groups "exhausted all efforts to save his life" up to the final moment. "We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim," Dureza said in a statement.