SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea halted anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts across the rivals' tense border on Monday days before their leaders are to sit down for talks expected to focus on the North's nuclear program, Seoul officials said. Seoul had blasted propaganda messages and K-pop songs from border loudspeakers since the North's fourth nuclear test in early 2016. Pyongyang quickly matched Seoul's campaign with its own border broadcasts and launches of balloons carrying anti-South leaflets across the border. South Korea, however, turned off its broadcasts to try to ease military tensions and establish an environment for peaceful talks, Seoul's Defense Ministry said in a statement.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday the world will have a single overriding interest: How will they address North Korea's decades-long pursuit of nuclear-armed missiles? Success, even a small one, on the nuclear front could mean a prolonged detente and smooth the path for a planned summit between Kim and President Donald Trump in May or June. Optimists hope that the two summits might even result in a grand nuclear bargain. North Korea's announcement on Saturday to suspend further nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and close its nuclear test site raised hopes in Washington and Seoul for a breakthrough in the upcoming nuclear negotiations.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Will North Korea give up the bomb? The answer may start becoming clear when South Korean President Moon Jae-in meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Friday. While North Korea declared this past weekend it would stop nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and shut down its nuclear test site, it did not indicate it will give up its nuclear arsenal or halt its production of missiles. Moon and later President Donald Trump are still likely to find it very difficult to persuade Kim to dismantle his entire arsenal, which includes purported thermonuclear weapons and developmental ICBMs.
SHANGHAI (AP) — It was looking like a banner year for business in China. The U.S. clothing company was expecting a 20 percent jump in online sales on Alibaba's Tmall, thanks to the e-commerce giant's massive reach. But executives soon learned that what Alibaba gives, it can also take away. The company refused to sign an exclusive contract with Alibaba, and instead participated in a big sale promotion with its archrival, JD.com Inc. Tmall punished them by taking steps to cut traffic to their storefront, two executives told The Associated Press. They said advertising banners vanished from prominent spots in Tmall sales showrooms, the company was blocked from special sales and products stopped appearing in top search results.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Islamic State suicide bomber attacked a voter registration center in Afghanistan's capital on Sunday, killing 57 people and wounding more than 100 others, officials said. Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro said that among 57 people killed, 22 were women and eight were children. He said 119 people were wounded, among them 17 children and 52 women, and "the tolls could still rise." The bomber targeted civilians who were registering for national identification cards, Kabul police chief Gen. Daud Amin said. The large explosion echoed across the city, shattering windows miles from the attack site and damaging nearby vehicles.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — An upstart Islamic State affiliate that first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 is becoming increasingly deadly and their attacks on the country's minority Shiites have grown bolder. In Sunday's devastating bombing, a suicide bomber walked up to a crowd outside a voter registration office and blew himself up killing 57 people. Most of the dead were ethnic Hazaras, who are Shiites Muslims. Another 119 people were wounded, many of them seriously. It was the latest in a series of attacks by IS against the country's minority Shiites. Following last year's attack on the Iraq Embassy in Kabul, the extremist group issued a warning to Shiites that they were coming for them.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Bill Clinton offered oil and reactors. George W. Bush mixed threats and aid. Barack Obama stopped trying after a rocket launch. While Seoul and Washington welcomed Pyongyang's declaration on Saturday to suspend further intercontinental ballistic missile tests and shut down its nuclear test site, the past is littered with failure. A decades-long cycle of crises, stalemates and broken promises gave North Korea the room to build up a legitimate arsenal that now includes purported thermonuclear warheads and developmental ICBMs. The North's latest announcement stopped well short of suggesting it has any intention of giving that up.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump on Sunday claimed North Korea has agreed to "denuclearization" before his potential meeting with Kim Jong Un. But that's not the case. North Korea said Friday it would suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of summits with the U.S. and South Korea. Kim also said a nuclear test site would be closed and "dismantled" now that the country has learned how to make nuclear weapons and mount warheads on ballistic rockets. But the North has stopped short of saying it has any intention of abandoning its nuclear arsenal, with Kim making clear that nukes remain a "treasured sword." Trump nonetheless tweeted Sunday that the North has "agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!" Being committed to the concept of denuclearization, however, is not the same as agreeing to it, as Trump claims.
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Thousands of Pashtuns from Pakistan's tribes have gathered in the eastern city of Lahore reiterating their call for the release of tribesmen being held by authorities on alleged links to militants. The rally was organized Sunday by the Pashtun Protection Movement, a group denouncing perceived high-handedness by security forces in tribal regions. Group's leader Manzoor Pashteen said they want a judicial probe into the killing of those labeled terrorists. He calls for issuing tribesmen identity cards and an end to disrespect of Pashtuns at security checkpoints. The crowd, holding portraits of their missing loved ones, chanted slogans against the security forces.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank repeatedly warned at their meetings this week that intensifying trade tensions could jeopardize a healthy global economic expansion. But U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed cautious optimism Saturday that countries could settle their differences without a trade war. Mnuchin met during the past three days with financial officials from China, Japan and Europe over a series of punitive tariffs unveiled by the Trump administration against China and other trading partners. In a session with reporters, Mnuchin refused to say how close the United States was to resolving the various trade disputes, but he did say progress had been made.