Top Asian News 3:49 a.m. GMT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Genocide is still taking place against Rohingya Muslims remaining in Myanmar and the government is increasingly demonstrating it has no interest in establishing a fully functioning democracy, U.N. investigators said Wednesday. Marzuki Darusman, chair of the U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar, said thousands of Rohingya are still fleeing to Bangladesh, and the estimated 250,000 to 400,000 who have stayed following last year's brutal military campaign in the Buddhist-majority country "continue to suffer the most severe" restrictions and repression. "It is an ongoing genocide that is taking place at the moment," he told a news conference Wednesday. Darusman said the requirements for genocide, except perhaps for killings, "continue to hold" for Rohingya still in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea says it has discovered what could be Korean War remains at a frontline area where it's jointly clearing mines with North Korea. The two Koreas began removing mines from one of the heaviest Korean War battle sites at their border on Oct. 1 before starting their first joint searches for war remains. The joint searches were among tension-reduction agreements the Koreas struck last month. Seoul's Defense Ministry says its troops found what it believes are two sets of human remains during the demining work. An army identification tag with the Korean name "Pak Je Kwon" was found along with the bones.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his ex-treasury chief have been jointly charged with criminal breach of trust involving 6.64 billion ringgit ($1.6 billion). The six new charges against Najib on Thursday come on top of 32 earlier counts of corruption, breach of trust and money laundering that he face linked to the multibillion-dollar looting of the 1MDB state investment fund. That scandal led to his coalition's shocking ouster in May's national polls. Both Najib and former treasury secretary-general Mohamad Irwan Serigar Abdullah pleaded not guilty to misappropriating government funds between December 2016 and December 2017.

TOKYO (AP) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to bolster cooperation and friendship between Japan and China in a key policy speech Wednesday before making the first official trip to Beijing by a Japanese leader in seven years. Abe said Japan and China are both responsible for the region's peace and prosperity, which he hoped to achieve by boosting exchanges between them. Abe will hold talks with Chinese leaders Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang during his three-day visit. "Tomorrow I will visit China," Abe said. "As we unflaggingly exchange summit diplomacy, I will also deepen the exchanges between the two peoples in all levels of activities from business cooperation to sports." Abe's visit comes as the two countries mark the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Japan-China Peace and Friendship, and follows Li's visit to Japan in May.

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese journalist freed after more than three years of captivity in Syria said Wednesday he is safe in neighboring Turkey. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Japanese Embassy officials met with the freelance journalist, Jumpei Yasuda, at an immigration center in southern Turkey near the border with Syria. "We are extremely pleased that we have confirmed the safety of Mr. Jumpei Yasuda," Kono told reporters. Yasuda was kidnapped in 2015 by al-Qaida's branch in Syria, known at the time as the Nusra Front, after contact with him was lost in June that year. A war monitoring group said he was most recently held by a Syrian commander with the Turkistan Islamic Party, which mostly consists of Chinese jihadis in Syria.

BANGKOK (AP) — Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad met Wednesday with Thailand's leader and discussed peace talks in Thailand's southern border provinces where a Muslim separatist insurgency has been raging for over a decade. Malaysia has been a facilitator between rebel groups and the Thai government but so far little progress has been made. Almost 7,000 people have died in the insurgency in Thailand's three southernmost provinces since 2004. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he and Mahathir discussed the problems facing Thailand's southern border provinces and agreed on greater cooperation. "We understand each other better on our concerns and limitations," Prayuth said.

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (AP) — The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived in the tiny Pacific kingdom of Tonga, where people gathered at the airport to welcome them wearing traditional outfits, playing guitars and singing. Prince Harry and wife Meghan were greeted at the airport Thursday by Princess Angelika Latufuipeka. They are scheduled later to meet with Tonga's king and queen and to attend a reception and dinner with traditional Tongan entertainment. Meghan stepped off the plane wearing a red dress while Harry wore a beige suit. The couple is on the 10th day of a 16-day tour of the South Pacific.

HONOLULU (AP) — Super Typhoon Yutu crossed over the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands early Thursday as the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane, making it the strongest storm to hit any part of the U.S. this year, the National Weather Service said. "At its peak, it felt like many trains running constant," Glen Hunter wrote in a Facebook message to The Associated Press. Hunter lives on Saipan, the largest island in the commonwealth, which is a U.S. territory about 3,800 miles (6,115 kilometers) west of Hawaii. "At its peak, the wind was constant and the sound horrifying," he said.

NEW DELHI (AP) — The government of India placed the director of the federal investigative agency and his deputy on leave on Wednesday days after the agency filed a case against the deputy alleging that he took bribes to settle a money laundering case. A government appointment committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi put out an order around 2 a.m. Wednesday sending the Central Bureau of Investigation's top two officials on leave and appointing a joint director as the interim head. India's Central Vigilance Commission, an autonomous anti-corruption body, had recommended the removal of director Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana on Tuesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a news conference Wednesday, calling it a "bizarre and unfortunate" situation.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Prime Minister Imran Khan's decision to attend a Riyadh investment conference despite the outcry over the killing of a Saudi journalist has coincided with an agreement for a $6 billion assistance package from the oil-rich kingdom, a crucial infusion of cash as Pakistan grapples with a soaring deficit. Analysts say the Saudi infusion will allow Islamabad to breathe a little easier as it seeks a critical loan from the International Monetary Fund to address its $18 billion deficit. The deal was signed Tuesday by Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar and his Saudi counterpart, Muhammad Abdullah Al-Jadaan, on the sidelines of the Saudi conference.