President Donald Trump says he thinks China will "want to be stepping up" in trying to deter North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Trump spoke to reporters on Air Force One on his way to a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. While Trump would not say what he wants China to do specifically with regards to North Korea, he suggested there was a link between "terrible" trade agreements the U.S. has made with China and Pyongyang's provocations. He says the two issues "really do mix." The president has said that if China doesn't exert more pressure on North Korea, the U.S. will act alone.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping opened their high-stakes summit at Trump's Florida beach resort Thursday, with the urgent threat of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and tensions over trade on the agenda. Xi's visit was overshadowed, though, by a U.S. missile barrage on an air base in Syria in response to this week's chemical weapons attack against civilians, which the U.S. blamed on President Bashar Assad. The U.S. announced the missile attack shortly after Xi and his wife left the Mar-a-Lago estate Thursday night. Trump appeared lighthearted earlier Thursday as he greeted Xi at Mar-A-Lago, gesturing and pointing to journalists as they tussled to get a shot of the two leaders together for the first time.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch and demanded a halt to all missile tests, stressing again that they violate U.N. sanctions and "are significantly increasing tension in the region and beyond." A press statement agreed to by all 15 members expresses "utmost concern" at North Korea's "highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council" by conducting the latest launch less than three weeks after the previous test. Council members said they "deplore" all North Korean ballistic missile activity, stressing that it contributes to the country's development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and diverts resources from the needs of its people.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — People used jet boats and tractors to help rescue about 2,000 residents of a New Zealand town after a river burst through a concrete levee Thursday, flooding hundreds of homes and businesses. Local authorities declared a state of emergency after the levee failed in the town of Edgecumbe on the North Island. New Zealand has been drenched in recent days by the remnants of Cyclone Debbie, which flooded parts of Australia's east coast last week. Tony Bonne, the mayor of the Whakatane District Council, said the water was more than 1 meter (3.3 feet) deep in some homes and that one nearby river had reached an all-time record height.
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's king signed the country's new military-backed constitution on Thursday, approving a charter that could see the ruling junta allow fresh elections but limit the authority of the politicians who eventually take office. King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun endorsed the document in an elaborate ceremony at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall attended by senior members of the country's military government as well as foreign diplomats. It becomes the nation's 20th constitution since the absolute monarchy was abolished in 1932. The military junta, which seized control of the country in a coup nearly three years ago, has said the promulgation of the constitution will clear the way for new elections no later than November 2018, though it has repeatedly delayed previous promised poll dates.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he has ordered the military to occupy and fortify all Philippine-held islands in the disputed South China Sea to assert the country's claims amid what he says is a race to control territory in the area. "We tried to be friends with everybody but we have to maintain our jurisdiction now, at least the areas under our control," he said during a visit to a military camp in western Palawan province. Duterte said he has ordered the armed forces to occupy and place Philippine flags on all islands, reefs and shoals controlled by the Philippines.
WASHINGTON (AP) — An Air Force general says she is extremely confident the United States could intercept a ballistic missile fired by North Korea. During congressional testimony Thursday, Gen. Lori Robinson said North Korea "can't reach our homeland" right now. Robinson told the Senate Armed Services Committee, "I'm confident, should he do that." She was referring to North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un. Robinson is the top officer at U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado. North Korea is pushing hard to upgrade its weapons systems to cope with what it calls U.S. hostility. Many weapons experts say the North could have a functioning nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the continental U.S.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — A Chinese real estate scion charged with orchestrating the murder of her children's father was released from a San Francisco Bay Area jail Thursday after posting $35 million bail, a highly unusual financial transaction that startled and angered the victim's family and friends. Tiffany Li will remain out of custody after family, friends and her mother's business associates raised $4 million cash and pledged Bay Area properties worth a combined $62 million to post her bail. Courts require double the bail amount when property is pledged instead of cash. "Nothing about this seems right," said Angela Dunn, a close friend of the victim who shared her home with him in the six months before his death.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan government is trying to grab the attention of President Donald Trump and gain greater U.S. support by dangling its massive and untouched wealth of minerals, including lithium, the silvery metal used in mobile phone and computer batteries that is considered essential to modern life. But tapping into that wealth, which also includes coal, copper, rare earths and far more that estimates say could be worth from $1 trillion to $3 trillion, is likely a long way off. Security has worsened in Afghanistan the past year, with Taliban insurgents seizing territory and inflicting increasing casualties on Afghan forces.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A U.S. military spokesman says Afghan and international forces have reduced the territory controlled by Islamic State militants in Afghanistan by two-thirds and killed around half the affiliate's fighters in the last two years. U.S. Navy Cpt. Bill Salvin, a spokesman for the NATO mission to Afghanistan, said Thursday it has carried out 460 airstrikes against terrorists since the start of the year, with drone strikes alone killing more than 200 IS militants. He said the militant group has an estimated 600 to 800 fighters in two eastern provinces. The IS affiliate has repeatedly clashed with Afghan forces as well as the Taliban, a much larger and more powerful insurgent group that controls a number of districts across the country.