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Asia Briefs

Asia Stories


Jul 13 2014 China To Enforce Clean Coal For Air Pollution Control

SHANGHAI - China’s capital city, Beijing, will enforce the use of cleaner low-sulfur coal from August 1 in a bid to tackle the soaring levels of air pollution that frequently clog the country’s major cities, the official Xinhua media agency said on Saturday.
Beijing will implement strict controls and targets for airborne sulfur from coal, Xinhua […]


Jul 9 2014 North Korea Fires Scud Missiles Into Ocean

SEOUL - North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast, the fourth such test in under two weeks.
South Korean defense officials say the suspected Scud missiles fired Wednesday from the western Hwanghae province had a range of about 500 kilometers.
The missiles landed in the body of water South […]


Jul 2 2014 North Korea Continues Firing Rockets Off Coast

SEOUL - North Korea has fired two more short-range rockets off its east coast, the third such test in less than a week.
News of the launch came from South Korea, which said the projectiles landed harmlessly in the East Sea on Wednesday.
South Korean officials said the projectiles were fired from the city of Wonsan and […]


Jun 7 2014 Vietnam Seeks US Help In South China Sea

WASHINGTON - Vietnam is calling on the United States to take a larger role in protecting the peace and settling conflicts in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
A foreign ministry spokesman in Hanoi, Le Hai Binh, said Friday, “We hope that the U.S. will have a stronger voice and make further practical acts […]


May 27 2014 Vietnam Accuses China Of Ramming Fishing Boat

HANOI - Vietnam and China are blaming each other after a Vietnamese fishing boat sank in the disputed South China Sea near where Beijing has placed an oil rig.
Hanoi maritime officials say a Chinese fishing vessel rammed the wooden Vietnamese boat Monday. They said 10 fishermen had to be rescued from the water.
China’s state-run Xinhua […]


May 23 2014 Vietnam Considers Legal Action Against China

MANILA - Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said his government was considering various “defense options” against China, including legal action, following the deployment of a Chinese oil rig to waters in the South China Sea that Hanoi also claims.
Dung’s comments, given in a written response to questions from Reuters, were the first time he […]


May 21 2014 Thailand Army Declares Martial Law

BANGKOK - Thailand’s military says martial law will stay in place until peace and order are restored, following months of sometimes deadly anti-government protests.
Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha went on television Tuesday, saying he declared martial law to end the political stalemate and prevent violence after the country’s top court ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra […]


May 18 2014 China Evacuates Thousands From Vietnam

BEIJING - China says it has evacuated more than 3,000 nationals from Vietnam following deadly rioting triggered by rising tensions over rival maritime claims in the South China Sea.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said the evacuees include 16 nationals critically injured when Vietnamese protesters rampaged through foreign-owned factories on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The 16 were among […]


May 17 2014 US Warns China Concerning Oil Rig Fiasco

WASHINGTON - The White House has described as a provocative act China’s decision to put an oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam, and is warning Beijing not to raise tensions in the region.
China’s decision to place an oil rig in a disputed area of the South China Sea has triggered protests in Vietnam.  On […]


May 16 2014 Anti-Chinese Rioting In Vietnam Turns Deadly

WASHINGTON - A huge foreign steel project was set ablaze in Vietnam as riots spread in response to China deploying an oil rig in seas claimed by both countries, with reports of fatalities and hundreds of Chinese workers fleeing tensions in industrialized zones.
A doctor at a hospital in central Ha Tinh province on Thursday said […]


Apr 29 2014 North Korea Holds Artillery Excercises

SEOUL - North Korea has begun live-fire artillery exercises near its disputed western sea boundary with South Korea.
Seoul’s Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said Tuesday it was informed by Pyongyang of the planned drills.
“Although the notified regions are located north of the NLL (Northern Limit Line), the South Korean military is taking safety measures for […]


Apr 17 2014 Taliban In Pakistan Ends Ceasefire

ISLAMABAD - Islamist militants in Pakistan, referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, have formally ended a 40-day cease-fire that they called to engage in peace talks with the government. The move has raised fears of renewed suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in the country.
The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan — a loose alliance of militant outfits — […]


Apr 16 2014 South Korean Ferry Sinks, Hundreds Missing

SEOUL - South Korean officials say three people are dead and at least 290 missing after a ferry sank off the country’s southern coast Wednesday.
The boat was carrying more than 459 people, mostly students, to the resort island of Jeju when it sank in what appeared to be calm conditions.
Many are feared to be trapped […]


Apr 13 2014 7.6 Earthquake Strikes Near Solomon Islands

WASHINGTON - A powerful magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands on Sunday morning, triggering a tsunami warning that was later canceled, according to U.S. government agencies, and there were no immediate reports of damage.
The quake was centered 100 km (60 miles) south of Kira Kira on the island of Makira at a depth […]


Apr 7 2014 Japan Orders Strike Against North Korean Missiles

TOKYO - Japan has ordered a destroyer in the Sea of Japan to strike any ballistic missiles that may be launched by North Korea in the coming weeks after Pyongyang fired a Rodong medium-range missile over the sea, a government source said on Saturday.
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera issued the order on Thursday, but did […]


Apr 5 2014 China Reports Potential Location Of Missing Airliner

BANGKOK - China’s official news agency is reporting what could be a breakthrough in locating the Malaysia Airlines jet missing for nearly a month.
A Chinese ship, searching about 1,600 kilometers northwest of Perth, Australia, says it heard multiple pings that could have come from the missing plane’s flight recorder.
The Xinhua news agency reported the Chinese […]


Apr 1 2014 Japanese Families Return To Radioactive Hot Zone

TOKYO - People in Japan on Tuesday began their first homecomings in three years to a small area evacuated after the Fukushima disaster, but families are divided as worries about radiation and poor job prospects have kept many away.
The reopening of the Miyakoji area of Tamura, a city 140 miles northeast of Tokyo and inland […]


Apr 1 2014 US Warns North Korea Against Provocations

WASHINGTON - The United States is warning a new round of saber-rattling by North Korea is “dangerous and has to stop.”  The warning comes as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel prepares for a week-long trip focusing on issues in Asia, including North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea’s latest attempt to grab attention with live-fire […]


Mar 31 2014 Pervez Musharraf Indicted For Treason

ISLAMABAD - A special court set up to try Pakistan’s former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, has indicted him on five counts of treason, a milestone for civilian authority in a country long dominated by the army.
Musharraf pleaded “not guilty” to each count Monday at the court in Islamabad.  If convicted, he could face the death […]


Mar 31 2014 North, South Korea Trade Artillery Fire

SEOUL - North Korea has fired artillery shells into South Korean waters, apparently in reaction to military exercises being conducted between the U.S. and South Korea.
Seoul responded immediately on Monday by shelling North Korean waters.  Officials say no shells hit any land areas on either side along the western sea boundary and no one was […]


Mar 27 2014 North Korea Suffers Foot And Mouth Disease Outbreak

SEOUL - The World Organization for Animal Health says deadly foot-and-mouth disease has spread to another farm in the North Korean capital Pyongyang.
In an e-mail to VOA’s Korean service Wednesday, the organization said at least six pigs were slaughtered January 16 after an outbreak of the disease in Sunan Village.
The new foot-and mouth outbreak in […]


Mar 26 2014 North Korea Continues Firing Missiles Into Sea

SEOUL - North Korea has fired two medium-range missiles into the sea off its east coast, a move Seoul and Washington immediately slammed as a provocation.
South Korea says the suspected Rodong ballistic missiles fired early Wednesday flew about 650 kilometers before landing in the sea between Korea and Japan.
That represents an escalation for Pyongyang, which […]


Mar 25 2014 Malaysian Jetliner Search Suspended

WASHINGTON - Bad weather is forcing the suspension of the search for a missing Malaysian jetliner, which authorities have now concluded crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said high waves, strong winds and dense clouds are preventing airplanes and ships from searching the area, 2,500 kilometers west of Perth.
The search for […]


Mar 21 2014 Missing Malaysian Airliner Still Not Found

BEIJING - Australia’s deputy prime minister says the international search to locate the objects captured earlier this week by satellite in the Southern Indian Ocean has yet to find anything.
Warren Truss told reporters in Perth Friday it is possible that something floating on the sea that long ago may no longer be floating and may […]


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