SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Friday his government plans to discuss with the United States the possibility of restarting joint inter-Korean economic projects to induce nuclear disarmament from North Korea. Moon's comments during a nationally televised speech came a day after a high-stakes nuclear summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed over what the Americans saw as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for limited disarmament steps. The breakdown is a setback for Moon, whose desire for closer relations between the Koreas hinges on a nuclear breakthrough between the United States and North Korea.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — An Australian state prosecutor has sent letters threatening to charge media organizations and dozens of journalists with breaching a gag order that banned reporting of Cardinal George Pell's convictions on charges of sexually molesting two choirboys, lawyers said Thursday. Reporting in any format accessible from Australia of details of the former Vatican economy chief's convictions in a Melbourne court in December was banned by a judge's suppression order that was only lifted this week. Such suppression orders are commonplace in the Australian and British judicial systems, and breaches can result in jail terms. But the enormous international interest in a criminal trial with global ramifications has highlighted the difficulty in enforcing such orders in the digital world.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Australian officials say an environmental disaster is unfolding in the Pacific after a large ship ran aground and began leaking oil next to a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Solomon Islands. The Australian High Commission in the Solomon Islands said Friday that footage taken this week shows little progress has been made in stopping the Solomon Trader ship from leaking oil since it ran aground Feb. 5. Australian experts estimate more than 80 tons of oil has leaked into the sea and shoreline in the ecologically delicate area and that more than 660 tons of oil remains aboard the Hong Kong-flagged ship, which is continuing to leak.
BEIJING (AP) — Thousands of delegates from around China are gathering in Beijing for next week's annual session of the country's rubber-stamp legislature and its advisory body. The event is more a chance for the authoritarian ruling Communist Party leadership to directly communicate its message than for actual debate or passage of laws. The session known as the "two meetings" provides an opportunity for party leaders to sum up the past year's achievements and lay out their priorities for the coming 12 months. It also offers a rare glimpse of President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and other top officials going about the business of governing Chinese style, as the world's most populous nation faces challenges from a slowing economy to a radical decline in its birthrate.
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Even as he announced the failure of nuclear negotiations with North Korea, President Donald Trump complained that annual military drills with South Korea were "very, very expensive" and said the South must pay more for them. Trump's comments Thursday raised the question of whether the allies can hold springtime drills this year at the same level as in the past and maintain their military readiness if tensions with North Korea flare again following the collapsed talks. The alliance, forged in blood during the 1950-53 Korean War, has been at risk since Trump threatened earlier to pull out the 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea if Seoul doesn't increase its financial support for them.
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — As Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump took their seats across from each other at the negotiating table, the North Korean leader confidently told reporters he had a gut feeling the two would conclude their second summit with some sort of an agreement. His gut proved wrong. A few hours later, he was speeding back to his Hanoi hotel, with no deal at all . Gauging Kim's calculus in a negotiation is never easy, but the ending to his two days in Hanoi with Trump seemed like a major disaster. Kim came to Hanoi seeking sanctions relief, which Trump said he simply could not give.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's prime minister pledged on Thursday his country would release a captured Indian fighter pilot, a move that could help defuse the most serious confrontation in two decades between the nuclear-armed neighbors over the disputed region of Kashmir. Prime Minister Imran Khan made the announcement in an address to both houses of Parliament, saying he tried to reach his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Wednesday with a message that he wants to de-escalate tensions. "We are releasing the Indian pilot as a goodwill gesture tomorrow," Khan told lawmakers. He did not say whether the release was conditional. An Indian government official, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly, warned that even if the pilot is returned home, New Delhi would not hesitate to strike its neighbor first if it feared a similar militant attack was looming.
SRINIGAR, India (AP) — This week's standoff between India and Pakistan is their latest in a long dispute over the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, dating back to their independence in 1947. Once unified as a single territory under British rule, India and Pakistan have struggled to create their own unique identities — often by pointing to their differences and allying themselves with different world powers. Kashmir has always been the flashpoint between them. Here are some key dates in India-Pakistan relations that helped define the dispute over Kashmir: ___ August 1947 — Britain leaves the Indian subcontinent, divided as predominantly Hindu India and mainly Muslim Pakistan.
SINGAPORE (AP) — Singapore plans to buy four F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. with the option of purchasing eight more to replace its fleet of F-16s. Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said Friday that the city-state will put in a request for the Lockheed Martin jets, which would be subject to U.S. congressional approval. He says the price has not been determined. Ng notes the cost of the jet has been steadily falling due to healthy orders from the U.S. and other countries, with the current unit price ranging from $90 million to $115 million. Singapore plans to retire its older F-16 fleet soon after 2030.
BANGKOK (AP) — A temporary closure of air space over Pakistan snarled air traffic Thursday, especially between Asia and Europe, though some airlines adjusted by rerouting their flights. In Bangkok, an important and busy hub for transcontinental flights, thousands of travelers were stranded. The closure of a main route for many flights to the Middle East and Europe was likely to be costly for airlines having to carry extra fuel and take longer journeys than usual. Bangkok airport officials said over 4,000 travelers were affected. Those needing help were getting access to accommodations and alternative travel arrangements, they said, though some of those stranded complained they were getting no help at all.