Top Asian News 9:24 am GMT


BEIJING (AP) — China said Friday it is in contact with the United States amid reports of a planned meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump next month following a dive in the U.S. stock market blamed partly on a growing trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang offered no specifics, but said that “I have also seen the relevant reports.” “China and the U.S. maintain communication on dialogues and exchanges at all levels,” Lu told reporters at a daily briefing. The reported meeting would take place during the G-20 summit in Argentina in late November.

BEIJING (AP) — China’s trade surplus with the United States widened to a record $34.1 billion in September as exports to the American market rose by 13 percent over a year earlier despite a worsening tariff war. Exports to the United States rose to $46.7 billion, down from August’s 13.4 percent growth, customs data showed Friday. Imports of American goods increased 9 percent to $12.6 billion, down from 11.1 percent. Chinese exports to the United States have at least temporarily defied forecasts they would weaken after being hit by punitive tariffs of up to 25 percent in a fight over American complaints about Beijing’s technology policy.

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo added to a chorus of criticism Friday over trade friction between the U.S. and China, telling financial leaders gathered in Bali, Indonesia, that victory in a trade war would be pointless in a “sinking world.” Widodo’s comments at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank came as share markets rebounded after The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reported that U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping may meet at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, late next month. Much attention at the finance meetings in this tropical resort has focused on threats to growth from the uncertainty and disruptions associated with trade friction.

TOKYO (AP) — The new Okinawa governor says he wants Americans to know the U.S. and Japanese governments are forcing a relocation of a U.S. Marine base rejected by people on the island. Denny Tamaki was elected last month after campaigning for moving the disputed Marine base entirely off the southern Japanese island and reducing the American military presence. Tamaki held talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday, urging Tokyo to do more to reduce Okinawa’s burden and have it shared by rest of Japan. Tamaki said the sides remained divided on the base relocation and that he wanted U.S.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has visited an Indonesian city shattered by an earthquake and tsunami to assess the impact of the disasters. Guterres paid a visit Friday to the city of Palu on Sulawesi island during a trip to Bali to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Guterres visited Balaroa, where the Sept. 28 quake liquefied soft soil and tore apart neighborhoods, and the coastal area of Talise, which was badly damaged by the tsunami that followed the magnitude 7.5 quake. The official death toll had risen to 2,073 as of Thursday.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan official says attacks by the Taliban in the country’s north have killed eight people — four soldiers and four civilians. Military spokesman Hanif Rezaie says the troops died in Kunduz province when the Taliban attacked a military outpost in the district of Archi on Friday morning. He says six were wounded in the assault. Rezaie says the civilians were killed on Thursday, when a car bomb targeting an election campaign headquarters in Faryab province exploded prematurely. He says several Taliban fighters died in both incidents. Afghanistan is holding parliamentary elections on Oct. 20. The campaign has already been marred by violence.

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Animal-rights campaigners are hoping this year’s festival season in Nepal will be a little less bloody. During the 15-day Dasain festival that began this week in the Himalayan country, families fly kites, host feasts and visit temples, where tens of thousands of goats, buffaloes, chickens and ducks are sacrificed to please the gods and goddesses as part of a practice that dates back centuries. Animal rights groups are hoping to stop —or at least reduce— the slaughter, using this year’s campaign as a practice run to combat a much larger animal sacrifice set for next year at the quinquennial Gadhimai festival.

NEW DELHI (AP) — A global hunger index has been released showing about 20 percent of Indian children under age 5 suffer from acute under-nutrition in the same week the International Monetary Fund projected India to be the world’s fastest-growing economy, exposing stark contrasts in the South Asian country. The 2018 Global Hunger Index published Thursday ranks India at 103 out of 119 countries, with hunger levels in the country categorized as “serious.” India’s ranking has dropped three places from last year. The report by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhlife says the only country with worse child wasting — low weight for height — is war-torn South Sudan.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has assigned a guided missile frigate to the East China Sea to boast international efforts to enforce sanctions against North Korea, an Australian officer said on Friday. Australian Defense Force Chief of Joint Operations, Air Marshall Mel Hupfeld said the warship with a crew of 230 will be supported by two Australian AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft based in Japan. “Despite the easing of tensions on the Korea Peninsula, Pyongyang continues with its nuclear weapons and ballistic weapons programs in defiance of … United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Hupfeld told reporters. “The occasional deployment of … maritime patrol aircraft and surface vessels to the region …

DARWIN, Australia (AP) — A wildlife ranger was taken by a crocodile Friday in Australia’s Northern Territory. The indigenous woman was attacked in a remote location 206 kilometers (128 miles) southwest of the indigenous community of Yirrkala, NT WorkSafe said. The employment safety watchdog said in a statement it was investigating. Police were traveling by boat and road to the area of the attack, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. The woman’s body has yet to be recovered. The last fatal crocodile attack in Australia was October last year when 79-year-old dementia patient Anne Cameron was killed after wandering from nursing home at Port Douglas in Queensland state.

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