Top Asian News 10:21 p.m. GMT
BEIJING (AP) — Taiwan said Saturday that China’s military drills appear to simulate an attack on the self-ruled island, after multiple Chinese warships and aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei that infuriated Beijing. Taiwan’s armed forces issued an alert, dispatched air and naval patrols around the island, and activated land-based missile systems in response to the Chinese exercises, the Ministry of National Defense said. As of 5 p.m., 20 Chinese aircraft and 14 ships continued to carry out sea and air exercises around the Taiwan Strait, it said.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday that China should not hold hostage talks on important global matters such as the climate crisis, after Beijing cut off contacts with Washington in retaliation for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week. Blinken spoke in an online news conference with his Philippine counterpart in Manila after meeting newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and other top officials, as relations between Washington and Beijing plummeted to their worst level in years. Pelosi’s trip to the self-governed island outraged China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary.
TOKYO (AP) — Hiroshima on Saturday remembered the atomic bombing 77 years ago as officials, including the head of the United Nations, warned against nuclear weapons buildup and as fears grow of another such attack amid Russia’s war on Ukraine. “Nuclear weapons are nonsense. They guarantee no safety — only death and destruction,” said U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who joined the prayer at the Hiroshima Peace Park. “Three quarters of a century later, we must ask what we’ve learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this city in 1945,” he said. The United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug.
BEIJING (AP) — Some 80,000 tourists are stranded in the southern Chinese beach resort of Sanya, after authorities declared it a COVID-19 hot spot and imposed a lockdown. The restrictions came into force on Saturday morning, as authorities sought to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the city on tropical Hainan Island. There were 229 confirmed cases on Friday and an additional 129 on Saturday. China’s ruling Communist Party sticks steadfastly to a “zero-COVID” approach that is increasingly at odds with the rest of the world. A recent outbreak in Shanghai spread so widely that authorities locked down the entire city, China’s largest, for two months, trapping millions of people and dealing a blow to the national economy.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Judith Durham, Australia’s folk music icon who achieved global fame as the lead singer of The Seekers, has died. She was 79. Durham died in Alfred Hospital in Melbourne on Friday night after suffering complications from a long-standing lung disease, Universal Music Australia and Musicoast said in a statement on Saturday. She made her first recording at 19 and rose to fame after joining The Seekers in 1963. The group of four became the first Australian band to achieve major chart and sales success in the U.K. and the United States, eventually selling 50 million records. International hits included “The Carnival is Over,” “I’ll Never Find Another You,” “A World of Our Own” and “Georgy Girl.” Durham embarked on a solo career in 1968 but recorded with The Seekers again in the 1990s.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Saturday called U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability,” accusing her of inciting anti-North Korea sentiment and enraging China during her Asian tour earlier this week. Pelosi traveled to South Korea after visiting Taiwan, which had prompted China to launch military exercises including missile strike training in waters near the self-governed island. China views Taiwan as part of its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary. While in South Korea, Pelosi visited a border area with North Korea and discussed the North’s nuclear program with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin Pyo.
NEW YORK (AP) — Marcus Eliason, an international journalist whose insightful reporting, sparkling prose and skillful editing graced Associated Press news wires for almost a half-century, has died. He was 75. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, developed pneumonia earlier this week at a nursing home, and died on Friday in a New York hospital, his family said. From Israel and the 1967 Six-Day War to apartheid-era South Africa and on to Afghan battlegrounds, bloody Belfast, the Iron Curtain’s fall, the handover of Hong Kong and countless other datelines and stories, Eliason witnessed and reported on some of the great world events of the 20th century’s final decades.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Efforts by Myanmar’s neighbors to help restore peace and normalcy to the strife-torn Southeast Asian nation were hindered by the country’s recent executions of four political activists, Cambodia’s foreign minister said Saturday. Prak Sokhonn, speaking in his capacity as special envoy to Myanmar of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, warned that further executions would force the regional grouping to reconsider how it engages with fellow member Myanmar. Cambodia is the current chair of the regional grouping, and Myanmar is not welcome to send members of its ruling military government to ASEAN meetings because of its failure to cooperate with a plan agreed upon last year to work toward restoring peace.
The last two agreements the world made to battle climate change came only after the United States and China, by far the two biggest carbon polluters, made deals with each other. Now the successful dynamic is in jeopardy with China cutting off climate talks with the U.S. because of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan. Just how much this will sidetrack momentum -- especially in the United States where there’s congressional action to cut emissions of heat-trapping gas — depends on how long the rift extends, experts said. But they said there’s hope that climate actions already set in motion in both countries will matter more than unspoken words.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — In a move that shocked environmentalists, the government of Brazil’s third-largest state has given up a legal fight over protecting a state park in one of the Amazon’s most biodiverse areas. The upshot of that decision is that a man responsible for the deforestation of huge swaths of protected land wins with finality a lawsuit against the government. The park will cease to exist. Antonio José Rossi Junqueira Vilela has been fined millions of dollars for deforestation in Brazil and for stealing thousands of hectares (acres) of the Amazon rainforest. Yet it was a company linked to him that filed a lawsuit against the state of Mato Grosso, alleging it had improperly set the borders of the Cristalino II State Park.