Top Asian News 4:38 a.m. GMT

BEIJING (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Beijing on Tuesday at the start of a four-day visit, in what's likely an effort to coordinate with his only major ally ahead of a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump that could happen early this year. A long motorcade including motorcycle outriders reserved for state leaders left a Beijing train station shortly after the arrival of an armored train consisting of 20 to 25 cars — most of whose windows were blacked-out —along tracks lined by police and paramilitary troops. Kim's trip, announced earlier by both sides, comes after U.S.

A long motorcade including motorcycle outrides reserved for state leaders has left a Beijing train station shortly after the arrival of a train believed to be carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Kim's his arrival Tuesday had been openly announced by both sides. The train consisting of 20 to 25 cars — most of whose windows were blacked-out — pulled by two locomotives arrived in Beijing's North Station along tracks lined by police and paramilitary troops. That followed the arrival of a three-car advance North Korean train. Kim's trip comes after U.S. and North Korean officials are believed to have met in Vietnam to discuss the location of a second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump.

BANGKOK (AP) — An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family over alleged abuse and barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room in a desperate bid for asylum will be allowed to stay in Thailand while her case is evaluated by the U.N. refugee agency, immigration authorities said Monday. Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun grabbed global attention when she sent out pleas for help via social media, saying she feared for her life if she were put on a plane back to Kuwait, where she had slipped away from her family, or her homeland. Instead, she has been allowed to enter Thailand temporarily under the protection of the U.N.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun is the latest young Saudi woman to attempt to flee her family and seek asylum abroad. Her calls for help on Twitter have grabbed international attention and prompted Thai authorities to say they will not deport her back to her family. With Saudi women runaways increasingly using social media to amplify their desperate pleas for help, here's a look at the obstacles they face: WHY ARE SOME SAUDI WOMEN FLEEING? Alqunun has told rights groups and media she's fleeing an abusive family and seeking greater freedoms abroad. Saudi females who flee their families are almost always running away from abusive male relatives, often a father or brother.

TOKYO (AP) — The former chairman of Japan's Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, appeared in court on Tuesday and asserted his innocence while demanding the reason for his prolonged detention. The hearing was Ghosn's first public appearance since his Nov. 19 arrest. Ghosn, appearing in a dark suit without a tie and wearing plastic slippers and looking thinner than he had before his arrest, denied any wrongdoing. "Your honor, I am innocent of the accusations against me," he said. "I am wrongfully accused," he said, reading from a prepared statement. Prosecutors have charged Ghosn with falsifying financial reports in underreporting his income. Widely respected for having saved the Japanese automaker from near bankruptcy, Ghosn said the company's and his own finances were harmed by the global financial crisis a decade ago.

By Yuri Kageyama The former chairman of Japan's Nissan Carlos Ghosn will assert his innocence in a Tokyo courtroom Tuesday, according to his prepared statement that addresses each of the allegations that led to his Nov. 19 arrest. The statement, which was to be delivered by Ghosn at his hearing, was released to The Associated Press through a person close to Ghosn and his family. They shared the information on condition anonymity due to its confidential nature. In the statement Ghosn said the investment losses he was being accused of stemmed from his having to be paid in yen and he had asked Nissan to temporarily take on the collateral, and the company suffered no losses.

BEIJING (AP) — Facing a March deadline, talks aimed at ending a trade war between China and the U.S. are underway, with the world's two biggest economies expressing optimism over the potential for progress but neither indicating its stance has changed. Cooling economic growth in both countries is increasing pressure to reach a settlement. As the talks began Monday at the Chinese Commerce Ministry, Beijing complained about a U.S. warship in what it said were Chinese waters, but it was unclear if that would disrupt the proceedings. Both sides have provided scant information about their discussions. The talks went ahead despite tensions over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on U.S.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's royal families will meet on Jan. 24 to pick a new king after Sultan Muhammad V abdicated unexpectedly after just two years on the throne, an official said Monday. The 49-year-old ruler resigned Sunday as Malaysia's 15th king, marking the first abdication in the nation's history and cutting short his five-year term. No reason was given, but the move came after he reportedly married a 25-year-old former Russian beauty queen in November while on medical leave. Keeper of the Ruler's Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, said the Council of Rulers held a meeting Monday and set Jan.

HONG KONG (AP) — In a move widely seen as kowtowing to Beijing, the Vatican appointed a retired China-friendly cardinal to head the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong on Monday, effectively blocking the succession of the highest-ranking serving bishop known to be critical of the Chinese government. Cardinal John Tong will serve as the church's interim administrator in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of more than 500,000 Catholics, after Bishop Michael Yeung died on Thursday. At a time when the Holy See is eager for rapprochement with Beijing, Yeung's natural successor, Bishop Joseph Ha, is widely seen as being too outspoken to be acceptable to China.

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were broadly higher on Monday after strong U.S. jobs data lifted indexes on Wall Street. All eyes are on trade talks in Beijing, where American and Chinese officials are trying to resolve a trade dispute that threatens to worsen an economic slowdown and put a drag on the global economy KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark, bouncing back from steep losses last week, started the day trading over 3 percent higher. By mid-day, the Nikkei 225 index was up 2.8 percent at 20,113.37. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.2 percent to 2,033.32. Australia's S&P-ASX 200 added 1.2 percent to 5,687.80.