Top Asian News 3:57 a.m. GMT

BEIJING (AP) — The brewing China-U.S. trade conflict features two leaders who've expressed friendship but are equally determined to pursue their nation's interests and their own political agendas. But while President Donald Trump faces continuing churn in his administration and a tough challenge in midterm congressional elections, China's Xi Jinping leads an outwardly stable authoritarian regime. Xi recently succeeded in pushing through a constitutional reform allowing him to rule for as long as he wishes while facing no serious electoral challenge. A look at some of the issues that could determine the outcome of the trade spat: ___ FRIENDLY TALK Although Trump sounded tough on the campaign trail and has challenged Beijing over trade and Taiwan, he professes admiration for his Chinese counterpart and complimented him on his ability to remove term limits on his presidential rule.

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar's military on Tuesday sentenced seven personnel to 10 years in prison and hard labor as alleged accomplices in the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims in troubled Rakhine state, where the country's security forces carried out a brutal crackdown against the minority group, officials said. The military personnel also were permanently expelled from the army, according to a statement released by the army chief on an official Facebook page. The army in January made a rare admission that its soldiers had killed 10 Rohingya villagers who were captured and accused of being "terrorists" during insurgent attacks last year in Inn Din village in northern Rakhine.

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A veteran Nepalese Sherpa guide is about to attempt a record-breaking 22nd summit of Mount Everest. Kami Rita is one of just three people to scale Everest 21 times. The other two have retired, but he's heading back to the mountain, saying climbing is a family tradition and pays well in a country with rampant poverty. He also wants the number of Everest climbers to be limited. The mountain has only a brief window of weather good enough for summit attempts, normally in mid-May, a situation that regularly results in mountaineering traffic jams. Since Nepal opened to foreign trekkers in 1950, Rita says climbing has become safer, with better equipment and complex weather forecasting to warn of the mountain's deadly storms.

ABOARD THE USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, South China Sea (AP) — — As fighter jets streaked overhead, a U.S. aircraft carrier sailed through the South China Sea on Tuesday in the latest display of America's military might after China built a string of islands with military facilities to assert its claims in the strategic waters, sparking regional alarm. The U.S. Navy flew a small group of Philippine generals, officials and journalists to the USS Theodore Roosevelt, where fighter jets landed and took off by catapult with thunderous blasts. The nuclear-powered carrier, and its 65 supersonic F18 jets, spy planes and helicopters, was en route to Manila.

HONG KONG (AP) — Developing Asian economies will expand at a slightly faster pace this year than earlier forecast, but trade tensions with the U.S. pose a major risk, the Asian Development Bank said Wednesday in its latest regional update. The Manila, Philippines-based lender said it expects the region to expand at a 6 percent clip in 2018, slightly above its previous forecast, after recording 6.1 percent growth last year. For 2019, it predicts growth will ease to 5.9 percent. The bank said robust exports and strong domestic consumer demand are supporting activity across the 45 economies it covers in its annual report.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — It was an evening like many others. Faisal teased his mother Adila before leaving for the Kabul pharmacy where he worked to earn enough money to pay for math and English classes. The 17-year-old dreamed of becoming a doctor. After kissing his mother goodbye and telling her he loved her, he left the home for the last time. Moments later — in a scenario that has played out in similar fashion throughout Afghanistan for years — a suicide bomber detonated his explosives nearby, killing Faisal and his 15-year-old cousin Ahmadullah, as well as three others. "He ran out the door.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Elections that could determine scandal-plagued Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's political fate were set Tuesday for May 9, an unusual workday vote with a shorter campaign period than in the last national polls. Najib, who is seeking a third term in office, is under pressure to improve his National Front coalition's performance after support eroded in the last two elections. The combination of the election being held on a Wednesday and the shorter campaign is seen as possibly hurting voter turnout. Analysts say lower turnout could hurt the opposition led by former strongman Mahathir Mohamad, who was Asia's longest-serving leader when he retired in 2003 after 22 years.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook is displaying advertisements for well-known American corporations along with content from group pages operated by overseas wildlife traffickers illegally selling the body parts of threatened animals, including elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger teeth. In a secret complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, wildlife preservation advocates allege that Facebook's failure to stop illicit traders using its service for illegal activity violates the social network's responsibilities as a publicly traded company. In a statement Tuesday, Facebook said its community standards forbid the sale of wildlife, endangered species or their parts. The company said it removes groups engaging in illegal conduct when it's identified.

BEIJING (AP) — Investors and China watchers welcomed President Xi Jinping's pledge Tuesday to open his country's market wider to foreign competition, hoping it will ease a trade dispute with Washington that has unsettled financial markets and could jeopardize a global economic expansion. Xi's vow to cut Chinese auto tariffs, allow more competition in banking and better protect intellectual property calmed investors who have been on edge since the world's two biggest economies last week announced plans to slap tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other's products. Stock markets rallied worldwide on optimism for relief from what has become the most high-stakes trade confrontation since World War II.

TOKYO (AP) — Families of Japanese abducted by North Korea decades ago have asked the U.S. ambassador to Japan to urge President Donald Trump to discuss ways to win their loved ones' return at his summit with the North's leader. Trump says he expects to meet Kim Jong Un in May or early June. Pyongyang recently indicated interest in a summit. Expectations for a breakthrough are high among the abductees' families as preparations for talks move forward. Japan says North Korea abducted at least 17 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s to train agents in Japanese language and culture to spy on South Korea.