Top Asian News 4:58 a.m. GMT

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel — both hoping to get out from under U.S. economic sanctions — have agreed to expand and strengthen their strategic relations, North Korea's state media reported Monday. Diaz-Canel, who is in Asia on his first international tour since assuming office in April, arrived in Pyongyang with his wife on Sunday. He was met at the airport by Kim, who joined him on the ride into the city past flower-waving and cheering crowds. North Korea's state media reported the two held talks at the Paekhwawon State Guest House and stressed their shared socialist history and vowed continued solidarity.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — China and India are closely watching the constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka, which has been a battleground in their struggle for geopolitical supremacy in South Asia. Chinese and Indian diplomats have been careful not to overtly take sides in the political turmoil, which has seen President Maithripala Sirisena oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, replace him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, and suspend Parliament. Wickremesinghe, meanwhile, has holed up at the prime minister's residence and insisted he is Sri Lanka's rightful leader. The caution exercised by the Asian giants stands in contrast to calls from Western diplomats for Parliament to immediately be summoned for a floor vote on Rajapaksa's appointment and underscores the economic and military importance the countries place on the Indian Ocean island nation.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's anti-graft agency says the former leader of a timber-rich eastern state has been arrested and will face corruption charges as it widens its crackdown on graft. The agency said Musa Aman, the former chief minister of Sabah state on Borneo island, has been detained at its office and will be brought to court later Monday to face several corruption charges. It didn't give details. Local media said the charges against Musa involved millions of dollars related to timber concessions. Musa is the latest former high-ranking official to be prosecuted following the shocking ouster of scandal-tainted Prime Minister Najib Razak's government in May's elections.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A newly elected independent lawmaker said on Monday a tough policy toward asylum seekers was a major reason Australia's conservative government lost its parliamentary majority. Kerryn Phelps on Monday was declared the winner of an Oct. 20 by-election forced when former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull quit parliament after his conservative coalition turned against him. The high-profile medical doctor and gay rights advocate will take her seat when Parliament resumes on Nov. 26. The government now holds half of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives and may need to negotiate with independent lawmakers such as Phelps to pass its legislative agenda.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president issued an order Sunday for Parliament to reconvene on Nov. 14, when lawmakers will get the chance to hold a confidence vote on the nation's former strongman who has been named prime minister. The announcement made in a decree comes amid a political crisis in the South Asian island nation sparked when President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa last month. Sirisena suspended Parliament in an apparent attempt to give Rajapaksa time to muster support to survive any no-confidence vote. Political opponents, rights groups and foreign governments including the United States and European Union have urged Sirisena to summon Parliament immediately and end the crisis.

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (AP) — A majority of voters in the South Pacific territory of New Caledonia chose to remain part of France instead of backing independence Sunday, a watershed moment that led French President Emmanuel Macron to promise a full dialogue on the archipelago's future. Final results had 56.4 percent of the voters who participated in the referendum deciding to maintain ties with the country that has ruled New Caledonia since the mid-19th century and 43.6 percent supporting independence, the high commissioner's office said. "I'm asking everyone to turn toward the future to build tomorrow's New Caledonia," Macron said, speaking from the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris.

SHANGHAI (AP) — President Xi Jinping promised Monday to open China wider to imports as he opened a high-profile trade fair meant to rebrand the country as a global customer. But he offered no response to U.S. and European complaints about technology policy and curbs on foreign business. The China International Import Expo is part of official efforts to defuse trade tension while resisting pressure to roll back industry plans that Washington, Europe, Japan and other governments say violate its market-opening obligations. "It is our sincere commitment to open the Chinese market," Xi said in a speech to a VIP audience that included Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Investigators succeeded in retrieving hours of data from a crashed Lion Air jet's flight recorder as Indonesian authorities on Sunday extended the search at sea for victims and debris. National Transportation Safety Committee deputy chairman Haryo Satmiko told a news conference that 69 hours of flight data was downloaded from the recorder including its fatal flight. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet crashed just minutes after takeoff from Jakarta on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people on board in the country's worst airline disaster since 1997. The flight data recorder was recovered by divers on Thursday in damaged condition and investigators said it required special handling to retrieve its information.

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets tumbled Monday as traders feared that President Donald Trump only reported progress in trade talks with China to score political points as the U.S. midterm elections draw near. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 1.2 percent at 21,985.05 and South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.6 percent to 2,059.60. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 2.4 percent to 25,891.48. The Shanghai Composite index shed 1 percent to 2,649.21. The S&P ASX/200 in Australia fell 0.1 percent to 5,841.70. Shares fell in Taiwan and Singapore but rose in the Philippines. WALL STREET: Technology stocks slumped on Friday as Apple reported poor earnings and said it would stop disclosing quarterly iPhone sales.

TOKYO (AP) — Haruki Murakami is planning an archive at his Japanese alma mater that will include drafts of his best-selling novels, his translation work and his massive collection of music, a personal passion that has been a key part of his stories. "I'm more than happy if those materials can contribute in any way for those who want to study my works," the Japanese writer said at a news conference with officials at Waseda University, where the library and archive will be housed. "I hope it would be a place for cultural exchanges with positive and open atmosphere," Murakami said.