ASIA NEWS BITES: US Presses NK to Release Detained Americans; World's First Flexible Fingerprint Sensor; Strong Earthquake Hits Japan; Duterte Apologizes for Martial Law

ASIA NEWS BITES: US Presses NK to Release Detained Americans; World's First Flexible Fingerprint Sensor; Strong Earthquake Hits Japan; Duterte Apologizes for Martial Law
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

What you need to know

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


In a move that highlights the shifting landscape of global auto production, Ford Motor said on Tuesday that it would build its next-generation small car in China rather than in the United States or Mexico.- The New York Times

China’s efforts to open up its markets to global investors won a long-awaited endorsement when MSCI added locally traded shares in the world’s most populous nation to its benchmark emerging-markets index. - The Wall Street Journal

Recent proposals to reform China's police-run detention centers are unlikely to do much to address a nationwide "human rights disaster" for police suspects in detention, human rights lawyers told RFA. - Radio Free Asia

President Trump said on Tuesday that China had not succeeded in getting North Korea to curb its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, an extraordinary admission of failure in his strategy for dealing with the rogue regime of Kim Jong-un. - The New York Times

Tensions rose on Tuesday in a dispute over China's restrictions on free movement of Kazakhs across the shared border with neighboring Kazakhstan, as a number of leading academics from the Central Asian nation called on China to guarantee the rights of ethnic Kazakhs within China's borders. - Radio Free Asia


The Agricultural Bank of China in Yunnan province recently froze more than 100 accounts of Myanmar citizens, a trader in Muse, Shan State, who was one of those affected. - The Myanmar Times

Myanmar officials have been negotiating with the Chinese embassy to reopen Chinese bank accounts held by Myanmar traders in the border area of northern Shan state, which was frozen last week over possible links to illegal activities, a local Myanmar administrator from the town of Muse said Tuesday. - Radio Free Asia


A massive wall of water roared through a village in Tibet’s Sog County at the weekend, washing away several houses and damaging others in an incident local sources blamed on melting glaciers, the village leader told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Tuesday. - Radio Free Asia


A strong earthquake hit southwestern Japan late Monday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. - The Japan Times

As the bodies of the seven sailors who died aboard the American destroyer Fitzgerald last weekend were flown back to the United States from Japan on Tuesday, multiple investigations of the fatal collision with a container ship began in earnest. - The New York Times

North Korea:

The United States holds North Korea accountable for its treatment of U.S. student Otto Warmbier and wants three other U.S. citizens detained by Pyongyang to be freed as soon as possible, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday. - Reuters

Otto Warmbier's death highlights the plight of foreigners jailed in North Korea. Calls grow to free three more Americans, six South Koreans, a Canadian and several Chinese national. - The Guardian

An Ohio coroner, abiding by family wishes, has performed an external examination instead of a full autopsy on the body of the US student who was held the prisoner in North Korea for 17 months and sent home in a coma. - Reuters via The Guardian

The chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee has called for a ban on tourist travel to North Korea after American student Otto Warmbier died just days after his release from the North in a coma. - The Korea Times

South Korea:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in stressed the need to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table while telling the communist North that denuclearization was the "right path" to ensure its safety in a recent interview published Wednesday. - The Korea Times

The European Union is in discussions with South Korea and China about taking a potential role as a broker for negotiations with North Korea on ending its nuclear program, according to EU officials involved in the effort. - The Wall Street Journal


Taiwan will send "agriculture youth ambassadors" to the Philippines and Indonesia in an effort to promote bilateral exchanges under the "New Southbound Policy," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday. - Central News Agency

Apple opens official store and oBike rides into country. - E27

Innolux Corp. (群創), one of the leading flat panel makers in Taiwan, said Tuesday that mass production of the world's first flexible fingerprint sensors is scheduled to kick off in the third quarter of this year. - Central News Agency

Hong Kong:

Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam has vowed to tackle pro-independence forces and foster the Chinese identity among toddlers, less than two weeks after she dismissed claims that Hong Kong independence had become widespread. - Hong Kong Free Press

The government faced a barrage of criticism on Tuesday over its plan to implement working hours by contract for low-income employees only instead of adopting an across-the-board approach. - South China Morning Post

Ex-Xinhua Hong Kong chief blames separatism on 150 years of ‘colonial brainwashing,' urges national education. - Hong Kong Free Press


Indian government: pregnant women should shun meat, eggs and lustful thoughts of sex. - The Guardian


The most recent cases of young self-radicalised Singaporeans – two auxiliary police officers and an infant-care assistant – "strike close to home," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday (Jun 20), as he called on the Malay-Muslim community to stand together with the Government in tackling the influence of radicalism and extremism. - Channel NewsAsia

An auxiliary police officer who was deployed to Woodlands Checkpoint has been detained for planning to travel to Syria to take part in armed violence, while his colleague has been put under a restriction order for supporting him. - Channel NewsAsia


President Duterte yesterday apologized for declaring martial law and for the destruction to Marawi City brought about by the ongoing conflict between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists, as he vowed to help the country’s Islamic city rise from the ruins of the nearly month-long fighting. - The Philippine Star

President Rodrigo Duterte’s death squads may have killed democracy in the Philippines, but they haven’t killed the country’s vibrant economy, which is the world’s 10th fastest growing economy in the world in 2017. - Forbes

President Rodrigo Duterte "has accepted" that government troops need the assistance of Manila's treaty ally Washington in flushing out terrorists in southern portions of the country, a Palace spokesman said on Tuesday. - ABS-CBN News

Government troops yesterday attacked rebel positions as they launched a renewed push against Maute militants still holed up in some areas of Marawi City.- The Philippine Star

Pro-Islamic State militants stormed a school in the southern Philippines early on Wednesday (Jun 21) and are holding several students hostage, police said, on the same island where fighting between government troops and militants has entered its fifth week. - Channel NewsAsia


About 50 journalists who work in provinces across the country gathered at the Information Ministry headquarters in Phnom Penh on Tuesday to protest the arrest of four journalists in Ratanakkiri province for alleged extortion last week. - The Cambodia Daily


Vietnamese human rights bloggers and activists are being beaten and intimidated, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Monday, as it urged the Communist government to end attacks and hold those responsible accountable. - The Bangkok Post