Top Asian News 3:40 a.m. GMT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian King Sultan Muhammad V abdicated on Sunday in an unexpected move, after just two years on the throne. The palace said in a statement that the 49-year-old ruler had resigned as Malaysia's 15th king with immediate effect, cutting short his five-year term. No reason was given in the statement. It marked the first abdication in the nation's history. Sultan Muhammad V, ruler of northeast Kelantan state, took his oath of office in December 2016, becoming one of Malaysia's youngest constitutional monarchs. He is said to have married a 25-year-old former Russian beauty queen in November while on a two-month medical leave.

BEIJING (AP) — China has sounded a positive note ahead of trade talks this week with Washington, but the two sides face potentially lengthy wrangling over technology and the future of their economic relationship. Both sides have expressed an interest in settling their tariff fight over Beijing's technology ambitions. Yet neither has indicated its stance has changed since a Dec. 1 agreement by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to postpone further increases. Envoys will have "positive and constructive discussions" during meetings Monday and Tuesday, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang. The American side is led by a deputy U.S.

BEIJING (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves: ___ EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a weekly look at the latest developments in the South China Sea, the location of several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region. ___ XI TELLS ARMY TO PREPARE FOR COMBAT Chinese President Xi Jinping is calling on the People's Liberation Army to better prepare for combat, amid tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A trash collection device deployed to corral plastic litter floating in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii has broken apart and will be hauled back to dry land for repairs. Boyan Slat, who launched the Pacific Ocean cleanup project, told NBC News last week that the 2,000-foot (600-meter) long floating boom will be towed 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) to Hawaii. If it can't be repaired there, it will be loaded on a barge and returned to its home port of Alameda, California. The boom broke apart under constant wind and waves in the Pacific. Slat said he's disappointed, but not discouraged and pledged that operations would resume as soon as possible.

BEIJING (AP) — All systems are go as a Chinese spacecraft and rover power up their observation equipment after making a first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, the Chinese National Space Administration said. The Jade Rabbit 2 rover has succeeded in establishing a digital transmission link with a relay satellite that sends data back to the Beijing control center, the space agency said in a posting late Friday on its website. The rover's radar and panoramic camera have been activated and are working normally, it said. A photo released by the agency showed the rover stopped at a point not far from where the Chang'e 4 spacecraft touched down Thursday.

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were broadly higher on Monday after strong U.S. jobs data lifted indexes on Wall Street. All eyes are on trade talks in Beijing, where American and Chinese officials are trying to resolve a trade dispute that threatens to worsen an economic slowdown and put a drag on the global economy KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark, bouncing back from steep losses last week, started the day trading over 3 percent higher. By mid-day, the Nikkei 225 index was up 2.8 percent at 20,113.37. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.2 percent to 2,033.32. Australia's S&P-ASX 200 added 1.2 percent to 5,687.80.

TOKYO (AP) — A 612-pound (278-kilogram) bluefin tuna sold for a record 333.6 million yen ($3 million) at the first auction of 2019, after Tokyo's famed Tsukiji market was moved to a new site on the city's waterfront. The winning bid for the prized but threatened species at the predawn auction Saturday was more than double the 2013 annual New Year auction. It was paid by Kiyomura Corp., whose owner, Kiyoshi Kimura, runs the Sushi Zanmai chain. Kimura has often won the annual auction in the past. Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a beaming Kimura saying that he was surprised by the high price of tuna this year.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — At least 30 Afghan villagers searching for gold in a riverbed perished on Sunday in a flash flood in northeastern Badakhshan province, provincial officials said. Along with those killed, dozens were also injured as a landslide and flash flood engulfed the river in the morning in Kohistan district, an area about 110 kilometers (68 miles), from Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan. Nek Mohammad Nazari, the spokesman for the provincial governor, said the villagers had dug deep in the river, which had in the past been mined for gold, when they were caught in the flash flood. The casualty numbers could rise, he said.

NEW DELHI (AP) — Six schoolchildren and their bus driver were killed as the vehicle rolled down a gorge on a hilly road in northern India, police said. Another 12 children were hospitalized with injuries after the school bus skidded off the road in Himachal Pradesh state on Saturday, said police officer Rohit Malpani. Malpani said three students aged 5 to 14 and the driver died on the spot. Three students died later in a hospital. The cause of the accident is being investigated. Around 150,000 people die every year on India's roads, often because of reckless driving, badly maintained roads and vehicles overcrowded with passengers.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani minister says his government's talks with the United Arab Emirates on setting up an oil refinery in Pakistan "reached their final stage" during the visit of the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also says Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan's visit on Sunday will further strengthen ties between the two countries. The prince and Prime Minister Imran Khan held a one-on-one meeting, followed by delegation-level talks. The prince arrived in Islamabad to a red-carpet welcome. Prime Minister Imran Khan received him and personally drove him to his residency for a welcome ceremony. The crown prince had been expected to announce a financial assistance package but left Islamabad in the afternoon without any announcements.