ASIA NEWS BITES: South Korea’s 'Gay Witch Hunt'; Dennis Rodman to Visit North Korea; Panama Cuts Ties with Taiwan after Chinese Pressure

ASIA NEWS BITES: South Korea’s 'Gay Witch Hunt'; Dennis Rodman to Visit North Korea; Panama Cuts Ties with Taiwan after Chinese Pressure
Photo Credit: Reuters/達誌影像

What you need to know

A quick roundup of the most important news from around the region.

South Korea:

Dozens arrested as South Korean military conducts 'gay witch-hunt'. - CNN

South Korea’s president suggests 2030 World Cup bid with North Korea. - The Guardian


Panama has cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of Beijing. - The News Lens

Human rights activist Lee Ming-che’s (李明哲) name has been added to the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s (CECC) database of political prisoners, the first step toward US efforts to help win his release. - The Taipei Times

Kuomintang (KMT) legislator Chien Tung-ming (簡東明) has been sentenced to five years and six months in jail after being found guilty of vote-buying during his election campaign early last year, the Pingtung District Court ruled Monday. - The News Lens

Over a dozen Taiwanese lawmakers established a cross-party group on Monday to demonstrate concern for the development of democracy in Hong Kong. - Hong Kong Free Press

With 150 million users worldwide, photograph editing app PicCollage is a global best-seller whose success has surprised its Taiwan-based developer Cardinal Blue Software. - The Taipei Times


Two Chinese citizens abducted last month in southwestern Pakistan have been killed, a senior Pakistani official said on Monday, though he did not indicate who was responsible for their killings. - The New York Times

Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand called off a deal with a major Japanese apparel company after learning that it was backed by the Japanese government, Ms. Trump’s company said in a letter made public on Monday. - The New York Times

The Trump administration has asked Beijing to take action against nearly 10 Chinese companies and individuals to curb their trading with North Korea, according to senior U.S. officials, as part of a strategy to decapitate the key networks that support Pyongyang’s nuclear-weapons program. - The Wall Street Journal

China on Monday hit out at plans for a pro-democratic alliance between lawmakers in Taiwan and Hong Kong, warning that the move shows "collusion" between independence activists in the two regions, and will further heighten tensions across the Taiwan Strait. - Radio Free Asi

The Chinese Communist Party’s powerful disciplinary wing is taking aim at the country’s Internet censors for not pushing a party-line agenda, saying they were “irresolute” in implementing the policies of President Xi Jinping and “not trying hard enough to ensure political security.” - The Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong:

Taiwan human rights groups helping Hong Kong activist fleeing riot charge, says Taiwan lawmaker. - Hong Kong Free Press

Typhoon Merbok spared Hong Kong any major damage as it pounded the financial hub with heavy rain and strong winds before moving further inland on Tuesday towards southern China. - Rueters


GoJek is beating its international rivals in the race for users at home in Indonesia, according to Nadiem Makarim, co-founder of the fast-growing motorcycle-hailing startup. - - The Wall Street Journal

The government launched a mobile application on Monday (12/06) that lists the prices of staple foods across the archipelago as part of efforts to keep inflation in check.- The Jakarta Globe

Obama to Give First Post-Presidential Speech in Asia at Indonesian Diaspora Convention. - The Jakarta Globe

Interpol Helps Increase Regional Security in Southeast Asia. - The Jakarta Globe


Across Thailand's southern provinces, communities have been struggling with rising drug use in recent years despite crackdowns and education efforts. - BBC

As part of the trust-building measure, the Thai government and Mara Patani has agreed to set up a district-size “safety zone” before the end of the year. No district has been named so far. - Channel NewsAsia


A defense official said Monday that Japan is seeking to increase its sales of military equipment to Southeast Asian nations amid growing tensions with China and North Korea. - ABC News

South Korea warns Japan not to mention wartime sex slaves during trade talks. - The Independent

The National Institute of Radiological Sciences has conducted additional medical checks on the Japan Atomic Energy Agency workers recently exposed to a large amount of radioactive material but has repeatedly failed to detect plutonium in their lungs, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. - The Japan News

Fuji Xerox, the Japan-based joint venture between Xerox and Fujifilm Holdings, said on Monday that its chairman and three other executives were stepping down over accounting problems discovered at its operations in Australia and New Zealand. - The New York Times

Sharp has sued China’s Hisense Electric, which licensed the Sharp brand for televisions sold in the U.S., accusing Hisense of putting the Sharp name on poor-quality TVs and deceptively advertising them. - The Wall Street Journal

Radiation levels exceeding the government-set safety limit of 0.23 microsieverts per hour have been detected on the grounds of five schools in the city of Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, the prefectural board of education said Monday. - The Japan Times

Facing a shortage of new assembly members, a mountain village in Kochi Prefecture is exploring direct democracy and possibly offering a glimpse into the future of local governance amid Japan’s rapidly graying and declining population. - The Japan Times


A 22-year-old Singaporean who planned to travel to Syria with her child has become the first female in Singapore to be detained for radicalism. - The Strait Times

North Korea:

North Korea is expecting another visit by former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman on Tuesday in what would be his first to the country since President Donald Trump took office. - Associated Press

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday that North Korea's advancing missile and nuclear programs were the "most urgent" threat to national security and that its means to deliver them had increased in speed and scope. - Reuters


A spokesman for the Islamic State (ISIS) group praised terror attacks in the Philippines and Iran, in an audio recording broadcast on Tuesday, June 13. - Rappler

Philippines fight against ISIS grinds on, victory still 'weeks' away. - CNN


Myanmar recovers more bodies from crashed military plane. - Channel NewsAsia