Top Asian News 4:44 a.m. GMT

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — U.S. analysts say North Korea appears to have restored normal operations at a long-range rocket launch site it partially dismantled last year as part of disarmament steps. Some experts say North Korea is trying to convey displeasure over the breakdown of a summit last week between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump over what the Americans said were Kim's excessive demands for sanctions relief. North Korea-focused website 38 North said Thursday that commercial satellite images from March 6 indicate that the launch site appears to have returned to "normal operational status" following rapid construction to rebuild a launch pad and a rocket engine test stand.

TOKYO (AP) — The mystery of Carlos Ghosn's strange attire when he was released from Japanese detention has been solved, with his lawyer saying Friday that it was an effort to protect the former chairman of Nissan from intense media attention. Many had been baffled by why Ghosn was wearing a blue cap, surgical mask and a construction worker's outfit when he was released on bail Wednesday. The disguise has riveted Japanese tabloid media, with one TV show even featuring a reenactment with a man dressed in the same outfit. Lawyer Takashi Takano said in a blog post that he takes full responsibility for what he called the "theater of disguise" and he apologized for its failure.

LONDON (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is taking the social media company in a new direction by focusing on messaging. Chinese tech giant Tencent got there years ago with its app WeChat. Zuckerberg outlined his vision to give people ways to communicate privately, by stitching together Facebook's various services so users can contact each other across all of the apps. That sounds strikingly similar to WeChat, which has become essential for daily life in China. WeChat, or Weixin as it's known in Chinese, combines functions and services that in the West are done by a number of separate companies — think of Facebook and its Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram services combined with PayPal and Uber.

SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Chinese tech giant Huawei is challenging a U.S. law that limits its sales of telecom equipment in the U.S. on security grounds as the company steps up efforts to preserve its access to global markets for next-generation communications. Huawei Technologies Ltd.'s lawsuit, announced Thursday, asks a U.S. court to reject as unconstitutional a military-spending provision that bars the U.S. government and its contractors from using Huawei equipment. It comes as the biggest global maker of network equipment fights a U.S. campaign to persuade allies to shun Huawei. That threatens to block access to major markets as phone carriers prepare to invest billions of dollars in next-generation cellular networks, known as 5G.

NEW DELHI (AP) — Someday, the family says, the 7-year-old will save them. "I'll fight," the boy's mother said when her husband insisted their son start working. She vowed he would stay in school, no matter what. More than 20 years ago, Ruby Khan and her husband, Nisar, came to New Delhi, hoping to find work and some sort of future in the Indian capital. They were desperately poor and barely educated. Ruby had made it only through fifth grade. Nisar never went to school at all, though he has picked up basic reading and math skills over the years. Plus, his legs have been weak and twisted for as long as he remembers, and the barrel-chested man in his early 40s needs a homemade wheelchair to get around.

BANGKOK (AP) — A court in Thailand on Thursday ordered the dissolution of a major political party ahead of this month's general election because it nominated a member of the royal family to be its candidate for prime minister. The Constitutional Court also banned members of the Thai Raksa Chart Party's executive board from political activity for 10 years. The ruling raised fresh questions about the fairness of the upcoming election, the first since a military coup toppled a democratically elected government in May 2014. Thai Raksa Chart on Feb. 8 nominated Princess Ubolratana Mahidol as its candidate in the March 24 polls.

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S.-North Korea summit in Vietnam last week was an "important step" toward denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, China's foreign minister said Friday. The talks between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were "worthy of full recognition," Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during an annual meeting of China's ceremonial legislature. He encouraged the two countries to "remain patient," and noted that many issues concerning the peninsula "cannot be solved overnight." Trump and Kim's summit ended abruptly last Thursday after a dispute over how much sanctions relief Washington should provide Pyongyang in return for nuclear disarmament steps.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling for immediate talks between Afghanistan's government and the Taliban, saying the current moment represents "perhaps the most significant chance" to find a negotiated resolution of the country's 17-year war. The U.N. chief stressed in a report to the Security Council circulated Thursday that "a sustainable peace agreement can be reached only through comprehensive intra-Afghan dialogue." Guterres expressed hope that progress in U.S. talks with the Taliban will bring about direct talks between Taliban insurgents and the government. "I call for the beginning of immediate, direct and substantive talks, towards the hope of ending this conflict and its unacceptable toll in lives," he said.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Mortar shells exploded Thursday outside a ceremony in the Afghan capital Kabul attended by the country's chief executive and a former president. Both men were unharmed, but three others were killed, a government official said. Nusrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said 31 people were wounded in the attack launched from a house near the ceremony. Security forces battled for several hours with militants holed up in the house, Rahimi said, and two insurgents were eventually killed and one person arrested. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility. The ceremony was commemorating the 1995 death of prominent minority Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari, who was killed by the Taliban.

ROME (AP) — Colleagues of two European climbers missing for over a week on the world's ninth-highest mountain in Pakistani say search crews have spotted two silhouettes near where they were last seen. The Alphine Club of Pakistan announced Wednesday that the search operation had ended for Italian climber Daniele Nardi and Briton Tom Ballard, who went missing in bad weather on Nanga Parbat. An official said Thursday the silhouettes were spotted as crews were waiting for helicopters to take them off the mountain. In a Facebook post, Nardi's support team said helicopters that could provide a better look at the Mummery Pass using telescopes were delayed Thursday because they were dispatched for other military needs.