Top Asian News 3:54 a.m. GMT

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Hundreds of elderly Koreans are tearfully saying their final goodbyes at the end of rare reunions between relatives separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. About 200 South Koreans and their family members will return to the South on Wednesday after a last meeting with their North Korean relatives at the North's Diamond Mountain resort. Another 337 South Koreans will participate in a second round of reunions from Friday to Sunday. The latest reunions come after a three-year hiatus during which North Korea conducted three nuclear tests and multiple missile launches demonstrating a potential capability to strike the U.S.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A government lawmaker said on Wednesday he was planning a second challenge against Australia's prime minister after losing a leadership ballot. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on his government to unite behind him after lawmakers in the ruling conservative Liberal Party chose to keep him as their leader 48 votes to 35 in a ballot on Tuesday. Turnbull surprised his enemies by calling the ballot before his challenger Peter Dutton had had time to lobby colleagues for support. But Dutton confirmed that he was now sounding out support for a second challenge. "I am not going to beat around the bush on that, I am speaking to colleagues," Dutton told Melbourne Radio 3AW.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Peter Dutton, the government lawmaker who has challenged Australia's prime minister for his job, is publicly perceived as a hard man and a leading hard-right conservative. His face is associated with turning back asylum seekers boats, stripping citizenship from extremists and striving to increase the English-language standards for migrants who want to gain citizenship. Dutton gave up the largest security portfolio in the government when he resigned as Minister for Home Affairs, who controls the newly created Department of Homeland Security designed to tackle the new security threats of a changing geo-political environment. While highly regarded by the conservative Liberal Party's hard-right faction, his broader appeal has been questioned, particularly among ethnic minorities.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has long been under attack from the most conservative members of his party who have always regarded him as too progress to lead an Australian center-right government. The 63-year-old former journalist, lawyer and merchant banker has a history of championing progressive causes including gay marriage, making polluters pay for greenhouse gas emissions and severing constitutional ties with Britain by making Australia a republic. Moderates have been disappointed by the concessions that Turnbull has been prepared to make to the hard-right faction of the conservative Liberal Party to retain power since 2015. Making Australia a republic hasn't been on his government's agenda, and this week he abandoned a policy to legislate a target of reducing Australian greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent below 2005 levels.

BEIJING (AP) — China, the world's largest producer of pork, is battling an African swine fever outbreak that could potentially devastate herds. Authorities say the disease, which only affects pigs and wild boar, has been detected in multiple locations across the vast country. It's unclear exactly how many pigs have died or been culled. The disease comes as China seeks to shift pig rearing from farmyards to vast breeding operations where waste and the spread of disease can be better controlled. China produces hundreds of millions of pigs annually and pork is a staple of the Chinese diet, accounting for more than 60 percent of animal protein consumed.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — It was a beautiful morning, according to New Zealand's minister for women, so after 42 weeks of pregnancy she decided to hop on her electric bicycle and ride to the hospital to give birth to her first child. Julie Anne Genter this week posted a picture of herself outside the Auckland City Hospital holding her bike, saying she was ready to be induced and "finally have this baby." "This is it, wish us luck!" she wrote, adding that "My partner and I cycled because there wasn't enough room in the car for the support crew ...

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia has sunk 125 mostly foreign vessels involved in illegal fishing as it ramps up efforts to exert greater control over its vast maritime territory. The sinkings at 11 locations across Indonesia were carried out simultaneously on Monday. Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry spokesperson Lily Pregiwati said Wednesday the sinkings weren't announced in advance to avoid straining relations with neighboring countries. Indonesia says it has sunk 488 illegal fishing vessels since October 2014, usually with explosives. The vessels sunk on Monday included 86 Vietnamese-flagged ships, 20 Malaysian and 14 from the Philippines. Video shot by local media showed fishery ministry workers scrambling to an adjacent boat from a sinking vessel that had been filled with sand and flooded.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A strong earthquake has struck in the South Pacific near the archipelago nation of Vanuatu, but authorities say there is no threat of a destructive tsunami. The magnitude 6.7 quake hit Wednesday about 78 kilometers (48 miles) east of the town of Lakatoro, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake was about 187 kilometers (116 miles) from the capital Port Vila. There were no immediate reports of damage on Vanuatu, which is home to about 280,000 people. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there was no large tsunami expected and no threat to Hawaii. New Zealand authorities say there was no tsunami threat there.

BEIJING (AP) — China's increasingly image-conscious government has appointed a trusted member of the ruling Communist Party to head up its international propaganda operation. Former top internet regulator Xu Lin will be in charge of efforts to portray China as a progressive force for good in the world at a time when it's facing criticism over its allegedly unfair trading practices, human rights abuses and militarization of island claims in the South China Sea. Xu's appointment to the position of head of the Cabinet-level State Council Information Office was announced by state media outlets on Tuesday. Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, Beijing has sought to draw a contrast with his administration by emphasizing its role in promoting free trade and addressing global issues such as climate change.

MEDAN, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman who complained about a noisy mosque to 18 months in prison for blasphemy. The ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, burst into tears as presiding Judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo announced the sentence Tuesday. She was taken from the court in handcuffs. Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam, the dominant faith in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation. Mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples throughout Tanjung Balai, a port town on Sumatra, in a July 2016 riot following reports of Meiliana's complaint about a mosque's noisy loudspeakers.