ASIA NEWS BITES: US Student Released from North Korea Dies; South Korea Steps Back from Nuclear Power; Singapore PM Apologizes for Public Family Feud

ASIA NEWS BITES: US Student Released from North Korea Dies; South Korea Steps Back from Nuclear Power; Singapore PM Apologizes for Public Family Feud
photo credit: AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon/達志影像

What you need to know

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

North Korea:

A U.S. college student released from North Korea in a coma after 17 months of detention died Monday. - The Korea Times

North Korean state media on Monday said Pyongyang won’t discuss nuclear issues with Seoul and that the DPRK should only negotiate with Washington DC. - North Korea News

North Korea releases Russian yacht from Rajin. The yacht was mistakenly detained, North Korean authorities tell Russian counterparts. - North Korea News

South Korea:

Moon Jae-in said he would lead the country towards a "nuclear-free era" following fears of a Fukushima-style meltdown. - The Guardian


Chinese authorities in the northern region of Inner Mongolia are holding nine people after deploying police and tear gas to crack down on protests over access to land and water on Lake Dalinur at the weekend. - Radio Free Asia

Tesla Inc. is close to an agreement to produce vehicles in China for the first time, giving the electric-car maker better access to the world’s largest auto market, according to people familiar with the matter. - Bloomberg

Beijing has reached a new peak in its bid to control the widely disputed South China Sea after pacifying rivals, keeping Washington away and building out artificial islands that are ready for military hardware. - Voice of America

China's Defense Ministry says it will stage joint naval drills with Russia this summer. - NHK World

China is cracking down on online moneylenders who target university students, following concerns about the largely unregulated industry. - BBC

China may soon establish a naval base in U.S. ally Pakistan. - NBC News

Hong Kong:

A pro-independence group plans to hold a rally to “mourn” the 20th ­anniversary of the city’s handover to China, despite a warning by the head of the central government’s liaison office that Beijing will show “zero tolerance” to those advocating separatism. - South China Morning Post

A pro-Beijing lawmaker has defended its camp’s largest party for visiting Taiwan in 2008, after criticizing a similar trip made by pro-democracy lawmakers last week. - Hong Kong Free Press


The air force yesterday said it had successfully intercepted a Sky Bow II (Tien Kung II) missile, using a Patriot II missile, during a test in the morning. - The Taipei Times


The Japanese Coast Guard said on Monday that a deadly collision between a container ship and a United States Navy destroyer had occurred nearly an hour earlier than previously believed, adding that it was investigating whether there had been a delay in reporting the crash. - The New York Times

A small amount of radioactive materials — plutonium and americium — was found in the urine of five workers exposed to radiation in an accident earlier this month at a nuclear research facility in Ibaraki Prefecture. - The Japan Times

Taking a recent plunge in his Cabinet’s support rate to heart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted Monday that his government’s recent handling of alleged favoritism scandals was at fault for stoking voter distrust, and pledged to “sincerely fulfill” his duty to explain himself. - The Japan Times


A roadside bomb killed six troops and injured four others as they were on patrol in the restive South yesterday, Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc) officers said, adding that a spike in insurgent violence was expected before the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Saturday. - The Nation


Singapore’s prime minister has apologized for a bitter family feud over his late father’s legacy, saying it had damaged the country’s reputation. - The Guardian


There is very little sign of normal life now left on the abandoned streets of Marawi. The fighting is unrelenting and it has been for nearly one month. - Channel NewsAsia

Authorities have started securing abandoned houses and establishments that soldiers have cleared from terrorists in Marawi City. - The Philippine Star


Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday that the opposition coalition had no influence on the lawsuit filed by the US government to recover assets allegedly bought with funds stolen from state investment firm 1MDB. - Channel NewsAsia


The pilot program allowing Grab and Uber as well as several local taxi and transportation companies to operate their app-based services in three Vietnamese localities has expanded so rapidly that the transport ministry has been forced to put the brakes on it. - Tuoi Tre News

According to a government decree effective since April, mobile phone users will have to provide not only a scanned copy of their ID card but also a portrait photo to legally own a SIM card. - Tuoi Tre News


Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines launched joint sea patrols off the shores of Tarakan, North Kalimantan, on Monday as part of efforts to enhance regional security amid increasing threats of terrorism and transnational crime. - The Jakarta Globe

Indonesia's Alliance of Independent Journalists, or AJI, on Monday said the police should investigate the beating of a journalist from state news agency Antara by officers from its Mobile Brigade unit at the Indonesian Open badminton tournament in Jakarta on Sunday. - The Jakarta Globe

Facebook has received an in-principle approval to set up a domestic unit in Indonesia, said a senior government source, home to the social networking giant's fourth-largest user base. - Reuters via The Jakarta Globe

The Indonesian Air Force deployed three Sukhoi fighter jets to the Tarakan air base in North Kalimantan, as part of efforts to prevent Islamic State-aligned Maute militants from crossing into the country from the Southern Philippines. - The Jakarta Globe