Top Asian News 4:42 a.m. GMT

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen appointed a close political ally Friday as premier during a Cabinet reshuffle following the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's heavy losses in local elections. Su Tseng-chang took charge of the Cabinet amid tense relations with China, which threatens to use force to take control of the island it claims as its own. Beijing responded to Tsai's 2016 victory by cutting all contacts with her government and has ratcheted up economic and diplomatic pressure on the self-governing democracy. The opposition Nationalist Party, which favors closer ties with Beijing, won 15 of 22 major seats in the Nov.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A landslide engulfed children playing near a cliff in central Indonesia, killing one and injuring several, the country's disaster agency said Friday. Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho posted a video online that showed frantic villagers pulling a limp child out of sodden earth on Thursday afternoon. He said that three children out of a group of six were injured and two were safe. They were playing by rail tracks in a hilly area when the landslide suddenly hit in Java's Sukabumi district, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the capital, Jakarta. Deadly landslides and floods occur regularly during seasonal rains in Indonesia.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Swedish home furnishings giant Ikea announced plans on Friday to open its first New Zealand store. The company said it would build the store near the largest city of Auckland over the next few years, and would open a pop-up store to give customers a taste of what was to come before the flagship store opened. The announcement was welcomed by many New Zealanders concerned with high prices and limited selections for home furnishings, due in part to the costs of shipping to the island nation of 5 million people. Others worried that Ikea could spell doom for some local retailers and manufacturers.

Indian Sikh devotees pay respects at a temple in Jammu, India, to mark the birthday of spiritual leader Guru Gobind Singh. In other images from the Asia-Pacific region this week, Filipino Roman Catholics jostle for a chance to kiss and rub with towels the image of the Black Nazarene as it is being pulled through the streets of Manila in an annual procession. China's lunar rover Yutu-2 leaves wheel marks after disembarking from a spacecraft that made a pioneering landing on the far side of the moon. A TV screen shows the live broadcast of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's news conference in Seoul.

A U.S. supplier of T-shirts and other team apparel to college bookstores has cut ties with a Chinese company that drew workers from an internment camp holding targeted members of ethnic minority groups. In recent years, authorities in the far west Chinese region of Xinjiang have detained an estimated 1 million Uighurs and Kazakhs in heavily-secured facilities where detainees say they are ordered to renounce their language and religion while pledging loyalty to the China's ruling Communist Party. Last month, an Associated Press investigation found the Chinese government had also started forcing some detainees to work in manufacturing and food industries.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged North Korea to take bolder disarmament measures that the United States should then reward, suggesting Thursday he wants harsh sanctions lifted so Seoul can eventually restart dormant economic cooperation projects with its neighbor. Moon said resolving the issue of the North Korea sanctions hinges on how fast Pyongyang denuclearizes and whether it receives reciprocal measures from the United States. He said that would top the agenda in an expected second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump. "North Korea knows it needs (to take) clear denuclearization steps to see international sanctions lifted and the United States also realizes that reciprocal measures are needed to match these North Korean denuclearization steps," Moon told a news conference.

BANGKOK (AP) — Australia's foreign minister praised Thailand for its handling of a young Saudi woman who fled her family to seek asylum in Australia, but also reminded it of continuing concern about a Bahraini soccer player granted asylum in Australia who remains in Thai detention. Marise Payne met with senior Thai officials in Bangkok on Thursday after Australia announced it would assess the request for asylum by 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, who was stopped Saturday at a Bangkok airport on her way to Australia and her passport seized. She said she was fleeing abuse by her family. Payne told reporters that Australia's review of Alqunun's case is already underway.

HAT YAI, Thailand (AP) — Gunmen disguised as state security personnel fatally shot four paramilitary volunteers guarding a school in insurgency-wracked southern Thailand, police said. The attackers approached the armed territorial defense volunteers at the school in Pattani province and shot them dead shortly before noon Thursday, police Lt. Col. Wicha Nupannoi said. They seized four HK33 assault rifles from their victims before fleeing, scattering nails and other material on the road to delay pursuers, he said. Predominantly Buddhist Thailand's three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat have been plagued by a Muslim separatist insurgency that has claimed the lives of about 7,000 people since 2004, according to the research group Deep South Watch, which monitors the region.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Officials say a wave of Taliban attacks in western and northern Afghanistan the previous day has killed 21 members of the country's security forces. Jamshed Shahabi, spokesman for the governor in western Badghis province, says the insurgents overran outposts there, killing six policemen. Council member Shamsul Haq Barekzai in northern Baghlan province says seven members of the local police force were killed there, also on Wednesday. And in northern Takhar province, council member Ruhollah Raufi says eight policemen were gunned down. The attacks left another 23 members of the security forces wounded. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for all the attacks.

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong Catholics mourned the loss of their bishop with a Mass on Thursday night amid a low-key struggle among clergy over reconciliation between the Vatican and Beijing. Bishop Michael Yeung died last week from liver failure after less than two years as head of the diocese of more than 500,000 Catholics in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. More than 1,000 parishioners gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to attend Mass and pass by Yeung's open casket. Yeung's predecessor, Cardinal John Tong, was brought out of retirement by the Vatican to serve as interim administrator, blocking the appointment of Yeung's natural successor, Bishop Joseph Ha, the highest-ranking serving bishop who is known to be critical of the Chinese government.