Top Asian News 4:58 a.m. GMT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A long-distance runner has relinquished his claim to have run the length of New Zealand in a record time after admitting he was driven for parts of the route. When 64-year-old Perry Newburn arrived in the southern town of Bluff two weeks ago, he and his supporters said he'd run the 2,100 kilometer (1,300 mile) journey in 18 days and eight hours, just beating a record set more than 40 years ago. But in a Facebook post last week, Newburn said that after reflecting on his effort, he didn't want to claim the record. "There were parts of the run where road/bridge conditions were totally unsafe to run and therefore I made the call to be driven through these parts — these decisions were my decisions," he wrote.

BEIJING (AP) — China has issued an upbeat but vague promise to carry out a tariff cease-fire with Washington but gave no details that might help dispel confusion about what Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump agreed to in Argentina. China has yet to confirm Trump's claim Beijing promised to cut auto tariffs and immediately buy more American farm goods. That has fueled doubts the weekend deal will lead to a lasting settlement of a fight over technology that threatens to chill global economic growth. A Commerce Ministry statement on Wednesday said, "China will start from implementing specific issues on which consensus has been reached, and the sooner, the better." It gave no indication what those issues are.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The U.S. special envoy tasked with finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan's bloody 17-year-old war met Tuesday with Pakistani officials, and a Taliban official said four members from the group's political office in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar were also in the Pakistani capital. But the visit by the Taliban leaders, which included a former Taliban ambassador and a former governor who is also on a United Nations sanctions list, is "private," the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media. Pakistan routinely tells a grumbling Washington that its influence over the Taliban is exaggerated, yet in the past has exhibited sufficient sway over the insurgent movement to summon its leaders to Pakistan for quiet talks.

SHANGHAI (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump is claiming victory in getting China to designate fentanyl a controlled substance, but China took that step against the deadly opioid years ago. What's actually on the table is a far more sweeping shift in the way China regulates synthetic opioids. The question is how China will follow through on its words. China's stated intention is to expand controls on all varieties of drugs that mimic fentanyl, a step advocated by U.S. officials eager to end the game of regulatory whack-a-mole with chemists who can manufacture novel opioids faster than they can be banned.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — South Korea's president said Tuesday no timeframe has been set for a historic visit to Seoul by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un despite both hoping it will take place this year. President Moon Jae-in said more important than the timing of the visit is that it would accelerate the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and give impetus to talks between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump. "Ever since South and North Korea were divided into two countries, this will be the first time that a North Korean leader will visit South Korea," Moon said through an interpreter.

BEIJING (AP) — The designer boutiques of Manhattan and Paris are feeling the chill of a Chinese economic slowdown that has hammered automakers and other industries. It's a rude awakening for such designer brands as Louis Vuitton and Burberry that increasingly rely on Chinese customers who spend $90 billion a year on jewelry, clothes and other high-end goods. The industry already is facing pressure to keep up as China's big spenders, mainstays for American and European retailers, shift to buying more at the spreading networks of luxury outlets in their own country. Last week, Tiffany & Co. showed how much well-heeled Chinese tourists matter to retailers abroad.

JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — Security forces tried to recover the bodies of 31 construction workers and a soldier who were killed in one of the worst separatist attacks in Indonesia's restive province of Papua, officials said Tuesday. Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said 24 workers were killed Sunday when gunmen stormed a government bridge construction project in a remote mountainous village in Nduga district. Eight other workers fled to the nearby house of a local parliament member, but an armed group came a day later and killed seven of them, Diaz said, citing reports from several witnesses. The eighth managed to escape and remains missing.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police say gunmen have opened fire on a vehicle carrying a local TV journalist in northwestern Pakistan, killing him and wounding his cameraman. District police chief Qazi Jamil-ur-Rehman said Tuesday that journalist Noor-ul-Hassan was killed in the overnight attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province which borders Afghanistan. No one has claimed responsibility and authorities say police are still trying to determine the motive for the attack. Hassan worked for a regional TV station and is not known to have any enemies. Such attacks on journalists in Pakistan are common. In some cases the assailants have never been found.

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia sought support from allies Russia and China on Tuesday in opposing the formation of a Kosovo army, warning that a military in its former province could lead to renewed clashes in the Balkans. Kosovo's parliament is set to vote Dec. 14 on transforming the country's security forces into a regular army. Serbian officials claim the army would be used against the Serb minority in Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008. Serbia has threatened unspecified retaliatory measures if the army is created. Serbia, Russia and China don't recognize Kosovo as a country, while the United States and most of the West do.

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A special tribunal has begun the trial of eight suspected Islamic militants in an attack on a restaurant in Bangladesh's capital in which 22 people were killed, including 17 foreigners. Twenty hostages, including 17 from Japan, Italy and India, were killed when five militants attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1, 2016. The militants were killed by commandoes inside the cafe during a 12-hour standoff. Two security officials died later in a hospital. The trial began Monday with testimony by a police official, Ripon Kumar Das, who described events as he and other officials responded when five young men stormed the cafe and held the diners hostage.