Top Asian News 3:27 a.m. GMT

BEIJING (AP) — China said Thursday it will retaliate if President Donald Trump goes ahead with more tariff hikes in a fight over technology and trade, ratcheting up tensions ahead of negotiations in Washington. Beijing will be forced to take "necessary countermeasures" if the increases go ahead Friday as planned, the Commerce Ministry said. It gave no details of possible penalties. Trump threw global financial markets into turmoil with his surprise threat Sunday to raise import duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. Trump complained talks were moving too slowly and Beijing was trying to backtrack on earlier agreements.

WASHINGTON (AP) — What trade war? For months, the U.S. economy has shrugged and chugged along as America and China slapped tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other's goods in the fiercest trade fight since the 1930s. Growth was steady. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.6%, a 50-year low. Stocks soared to record levels. But President Donald Trump's decision to hike import taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% could upend all that. "A game changer," Steven Cochrane, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Moody's Analytics, said of the tariffs slated to take effect at 12:01 a.m.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Thursday described its firing of rocket artillery and an apparent short-range ballistic missile over the weekend as a regular and defensive military exercise and ridiculed South Korea for criticizing the launches. North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency published a statement by an unnamed military spokesman who called South Korea's criticism a "cock-and-bull story," hours before senior defense officials from South Korea, United States and Japan met in Seoul to discuss the North Korean launches and other security issues. A separate statement by a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman described the launches as a "routine and self-defensive military drill."

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row in Pakistan, but who still faced death threats from Islamic extremists upon her release, flew to Canada on Wednesday to join her daughters, Pakistani officials and others involved in the case said. Aasia Bibi was convicted of blasphemy in 2009 after a quarrel with two fellow farmworkers, who refused to drink from the same water container as a Christian. Five days later, the women said Bibi had insulted Islam, a crime punishable by death. Bibi was charged with blasphemy despite repeatedly denying the accusation. The Supreme Court overturned her conviction last year, and she had been in protective custody since then.

SHANGHAI (AP) — Patient Number One is a thin man, with a scabby face and bouncy knees. His head, shaved in preparation for surgery, is wrapped in a clean, white cloth. Years of drug use cost him his wife, his money and his self-respect, before landing him in this drab yellow room at a Shanghai hospital, facing the surgeon who in 72 hours will drill two small holes in his skull and feed electrodes deep into his brain. The hope is that technology will extinguish his addiction, quite literally, with the flip of a switch. The treatment — deep brain stimulation — has long been used for movement disorders like Parkinson's.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's Election Commission on Wednesday announced the final results of the March 24 general election — the first since a military coup in 2014 — that gave no party an absolute majority and likely will prompt legal challenges. The commission distributed 150 party list seats in the 500-member House of Representatives under a complicated formula related to each party's nationwide popular vote total. Twenty-six parties were granted seats, 14 of them one apiece, while one seat was held open pending a re-vote in one constituency where the winning candidate was disqualified. The commission's failure to clearly explain its formula had led to suspicions it might fiddle with the total.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A plane operated by Biman Bangladesh Airlines skidded off the runway while landing Wednesday evening at Myanmar's Yangon International Airport, injuring at least four people including a pilot, an airline official said. Biman spokesman Shakil Meraj said the accident occurred when the Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 aircraft was landing in bad weather after a flight from Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. Flight BG060 was carrying 33 people, including two pilots and two flight attendants, he said, adding that the condition of the four injured people was not life-threatening. Photos of the plane showed it lying partly on the wet runway and partly on the grass.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban fighters attacked the offices of a U.S.-based aid organization in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, setting off a huge explosion and battling security forces in an assault that lasted more than six hours and killed at least five people, the Interior Ministry said. Dozens of civilian vehicles and shops were either destroyed or damaged, and several buildings were also damaged. A large plume of smoke rose from the area and the sound of sporadic gunfire could be heard. The ministry's statement said four civilians and a police officer were killed and 24 others were wounded in the assault.

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber attacked security forces guarding a famous Sufi shrine in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and wounding 20 others, police said. Hizbul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying their target was the police. Hundreds of pilgrims were inside and outside the shrine, where a local Sufi saint is buried, when the blast took place. Sufism is a mystical strain of Islam that often involves reverence for local holy figures and shrines. Sunni extremists view Sufism with hostility and have carried out attacks on Sufi celebrations and shrines across the Muslim world.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just months after the Army's new training brigade returned from Afghanistan, its teams are preparing for a different type of deployment that will scatter them around the world. Rather than putting all 800 soldiers in one war-torn nation, the Army is expected to begin dispatching the unit's small teams separately to countries in Europe, Africa or other regions where they will train and advise local forces. Army Brig. Gen. Scott Jackson, the brigade's commander, told The Associated Press that while the Afghanistan tour focused heavily on combat operations, future efforts will center on helping partner forces train better and learn to avoid conflicts.