Top Asian News 7:05 a.m. GMT

Top Asian News 7:05 a.m. GMT

Updated: 2 months, 16 days, 23 hours, 56 minutes, 33 seconds ago

China tightens restrictions as rise in virus cases reported

BEIJING (AP) — Everyone in a district of 1.8 million people in China’s southern metropolis of Guangzhou was ordered to stay home Saturday to undergo virus testing and a major city in the southwest closed schools as another rise in infections was reported. Nationwide, a total of 11,773 infections were found over the past 24 hours, including 10,351 in people with no symptoms, the National Health Commission announced. China’s numbers are low, but the increase over the past week is a challenge to a “zero-COVID” strategy that aims to isolate every infected person. The quarantine for travelers arriving in China was shortened to five days from seven as part of changes in anti-virus controls announced Friday to reduce their cost and disruption.

China's Xi, out of COVID bubble, faces changed world at G-20

BEIJING (AP) — After a lengthy absence from major international gatherings, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is leaving his country's COVID-19 bubble and venturing abroad next week into a dramatically changed world marked by rising confrontation. Xi will attend the G-20 meeting of industrial and emerging market nations in Indonesia followed by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Thailand. He will meet individually with other leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday in their first in-person talks since Biden took office in January 2021. The Chinese leader has relied mainly on speeches by video to deliver China’s message at the U.N.

Ukraine FM: Moscow playing 'hunger games' with world

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pressed Southeast Asian countries for political and material support in his county's fight against Russia, while accusing Moscow on Saturday of playing “hunger games” with the world by holding up shipments of Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products. Kuleba told reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit that with a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain and fertilizer due to expire Nov. 19, the world needed to pressure Russia not to object to its extension, saying Ukrainian products were critical in Africa and Asia. More than just continuing the deal, however, Kuleba accused Russian inspectors of “quiet sabotage," saying they were intentionally dragging their feet in allowing shipments through.

US to buy South Korean howitzer rounds to send to Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will buy 100,000 rounds of howitzer artillery from South Korean manufacturers to provide to Ukraine, a U.S. official said Thursday, in a deal the two governments have been working on for some time. The agreement comes as Ukrainian leaders press for more weapons and aid to take advantage of a counteroffensive that is pushing Russian forces out of some areas they had taken over earlier in the war. And it relieves concerns within the U.S. military — particularly the Army and the Marine Corps — who are worried that persistent transfers of the Pentagon's howitzer ammunition to Ukraine are eating into their stockpiles.

China confirms Xi to attend G-20, APEC meetings

BEIJING (AP) — China on Friday confirmed President Xi Jinping will attend both the meeting of the Group of 20 industrialized countries and the gathering of Asian Pacific nations this month in his first major overseas trip since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Friday that Xi would meet with U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders on the sidelines of the twin summits, with the G-20 coming first in Indonesia followed immediately by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Thailand. Xi has largely avoided foreign travel since the beginning of the outbreak while China adheres to its strict “zero-COVID” policy mandating lockdowns and quarantines.

Computer chip ban signals new era as Biden and Xi meet

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration's move to block exports of advanced computer chips to China is signaling a new phase in relations between the globe's two largest economies — one in which trade matters less than an increasingly heated competition to be the world’s leading technological and military power. The aggressive move, announced last month, will help set the tone for President Joe Biden’s upcoming meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Asia. It's evidence of Biden's determination to “manage” the U.S. competition with China, whose officials were quick to condemn the export ban.

Biden says climate efforts 'more urgent than ever' at summit

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — President Joe Biden, speaking Friday at an annual international summit on climate change, urged world leaders to “double down” on their resolve to fight global warming, saying Russia's invasion of Ukraine reinforces the need to phase out fossil fuels. “We can no longer plead ignorance to the consequences of our actions, or continue to repeat our mistakes,” Biden said. The president's brief attendance at the United Nations climate conference, known as COP27, was largely a victory lap as he emphasized new spending on clean energy initiatives that will “change the paradigm” for the United States and the rest of the world.

Japan minister quits over execution remark, PM delays trip

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delayed his departure for three upcoming summits in Southeast Asia on Friday to sack and replace his justice minister, who was widely criticized over a remark he made about capital punishment. Justice Minister Yasuhiro Hanashi told reporters he submitted his resignation to Kishida on Friday, two days after he commented at a party meeting that his low-profile job only made the noon news when he used his “hanko” stamp to approve death penalties in the morning. The remark quickly sparked criticism from the opposition as well as within Kishida’s governing party, which is already mired in a controversy over its decades-long ties to the Unification Church, a South Korea-based religious group accused in Japan of improper recruitment and brainwashing of adherents into making huge donations.

Seoul court approves extradition of New Zealand suspect

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean court has approved the extradition of a 42-year-old woman facing murder charges in New Zealand over her possible connection to the bodies of two long-dead children found abandoned in suitcases in August. The Seoul High Court said Friday its decision came after the unidentified woman agreed in writing to be sent back to New Zealand. The court had previously planned to review her case on Monday to determine whether she should be extradited and now says that session is no longer necessary. With the court approving her extradition, it’s now up to South Korean Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon to make the final call on whether she’s sent to New Zealand.

Australia blames Russians for health insurance data theft

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Moscow must he held to account for Russian cybercriminals accused of hacking Australia’s largest health insurer and dumping customers’ personal medical records on the dark web, Australian officials said Friday. Australian Federal Police took the unusual step of attributing blame for the unsolved cybercrime that resulted in the personal data of 9.7 million current and former Medibank customers being stolen. A group of “loosely affiliated cybercriminals” operating like a business in Russia were likely responsible for the Medibank attack as well as other significant security breaches around the world, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said. “We believe we know which individuals are responsible, but I will not be naming them,” Kershaw told reporters.

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