Week in Focus: A New Era of Peace on the Korean Peninsula?

Week in Focus: A New Era of Peace on the Korean Peninsula?
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A weekly roundup of the most important news from around the region.

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China:

A knife-wielding man with a grudge killed nine middle school children and injured at least 10 others as they returned home in northern China on Friday ( April 27), authorities said, in one of the deadliest such rampages in the country in recent years. — Channel News Asia

China criminalizes the slander of its ‘heroes and martyrs,’ as it seeks to control history. — The Washington Post

Students and professors in China denounced a leading university on Tuesday ( April 24) for trying to silence activism about sexual harassment, a rare act of defiance that is testing the limits of the country’s fledgling #MeToo movement. — The New York Times

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Photo Credit: Reuters/TPG

Attempts to silence a student who drew attention to sexual abuse allegations at a Chinese university have inspired tech-savvy activists to use blockchain technology to dodge censors and keep the fledgling #MeToo movement alive. — Channel News Asia

Shanghai Disneyland should be viewed as a local company in China, Walt Disney said on Thursday (Apr 26), shrugging off concerns that U.S.-China trade tensions could affect visitor numbers or import costs for the US$5.5 billion theme park. — Channel News Asia

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China plans to change its law to allow judgments in corruption cases to be delivered even when suspects do not appear in court, state media said, as Beijing ramps up pressure on graft fugitives hiding overseas. — The Strait Times

The U.S. Treasury on Friday (Apr 27) named an alleged Chinese fentanyl supplier as a major global trafficker, taking aim at one of the drug networks behind a rising number of overdose deaths. — AFP via Channel News Asia

A leading French department store and the luxury fashion brand Balenciaga were forced to apologize after a violent scuffle involving Chinese customers and security guards broke out in a queue. — The Times

Taiwan:

China confirmed on Thursday (April 26) that it had put into service a new missile that domestic media has dubbed the "Guam killer" for its ability to hit the U.S. Pacific Ocean base with a conventional or nuclear weapon. — Reuters

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Photo Credit: Reuters/TPG

Taipei accused China on Thursday (April 26) of endangering the health of Taiwanese people and compromising global epidemic prevention by blocking it from the World Health Organisation (WHO), as its hopes of attending a major meeting next month dim. — The Strait Times

Hong Kong:

A proposal to build a commuter town for Hongkongers in mainland China to solve a housing crisis was slammed on Wednesday (Apr 25) as ghettoizing poorer residents and compromising the city's autonomy. — Channel News Asia

Local artist ties himself with a rope that forms characters reading "Kidnap" during a protest over the disappearance of booksellers, in Hong Kong
Photo Credit: Reuters/TPG

Lam Wing-kei, one of five Hong Kong booksellers detained by the Chinese authorities for selling "banned" political books to customers across the internal border in mainland China, says he will open a new bookstore on the democratic island of Taiwan later this year in a bid to keep selling and publishing freely, something that is no longer possible in his home city of Hong Kong. — Radio Free Asia

North Korea:
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North Korea has hailed its summit with the South as “new milestone” in the history of the two countries after the two leaders pledged to pursue a permanent peace and rid the peninsula of nuclear weapons. — The Guardian

The parents of Otto F. Warmbier, the Cincinnati college student who died after suffering a severe brain injury during 17 months in custody in Pyongyang, sued North Korea on Thursday, alleging that it kidnapped, tortured and murdered their son. — The New York Times

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Photo Credit: Reuters/TPG
South Korea:

Samsung Electronics Co. reported its fourth consecutive quarter of record operating profits on Wednesday, capitalizing on high demand for its memory chips. — The Wall Street Journal

South Korea's largest automaker Hyundai Motor saw its first-quarter net profits plunge 48 percent as strikes and a strong won weighed on its bottom line, it said Thursday (Apr 26). — Channel News Asia

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Photo Credit: Reuters/TPG
Japan:

The Japanese authorities are investigating the data falsification scandal at Kobe Steel, the company said Wednesday, potentially broadening an episode that has undermined the country’s reputation for high-quality manufacturing. — The New York Times

The public approval ratings of Japan’s prime minister may have plunged to record lows following a scandal over suspected cronyism, but a Reuters poll shows that the Japanese business community has a much more positive view of him. — Reuters

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Japan’s new home-sharing law was meant to ease a shortage of hotel rooms, bring order to an unregulated market and offer more lodging options for foreign visitors ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. — Reuters

The Finance Ministry acknowledged Friday that its former top bureaucrat sexually harassed a female reporter, slapping him with a deduction equivalent to 20 percent on six months’ worth of wages that will sap his retirement benefits. — The Japan Times

Malaysia:

Opposition Parti Keadlian Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Tian Chua was on Saturday (Apr 28) disqualified from contesting in Malaysia’s upcoming general election, local media reported. — Channel News Asia

Malaysia General Election 2018: Nomination Day recap. — Channel News Asia

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Selling the country to China? When Malaysia's political parties unfurled their election flags and banners this month, Prime Minister Najib Razak's critics sniggered on social media that the manufacturer named on banners of his ruling coalition was Chinese. — Reuters

India:

A court in India convicted a popular spiritual guru on Wednesday of raping a teenager and sentenced him to life in prison. — The Washington Post

Walmart is nearing a deal to acquire a majority stake in India’s leading online retailer, a bold move that would open another front in its escalating war with Amazon. — The New York Times

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India has constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and by some measures the biggest and most diverse media industry in the world. But journalists here say they are increasingly facing intimidation aimed at stopping them from running stories critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his administration. — Reuters

Indonesia:

A Javan rhino has died in Indonesia, the environment ministry said Thursday, bringing the critically endangered mammals closer to extinction with just 60 believed to be still living in the wild. — Channel News Asia via AFP

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photo credit: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/TPG

Indonesia is investigating reports from Islamic State supporters that the most senior Southeast Asian commander of the militant group was killed by U.S. airstrikes in eastern Syria last week, counter-terrorism officials said. — Channel News Asia

Soon after taking office in 2014, Indonesian President Joko Widodo made a landmark decision to cut subsidies on politically sensitive fuel prices to boost the economy, but a year out from a tough re-election campaign, his reformist zeal may be waning. — Reuters

Philippines:

The last tourists on the popular Philippines tropical island of Boracay were told to pack their swimsuits and leave Thursday,, as a government shutdown took effect to scrub the paradise clean of sewage and curb overdevelopment. — The Wall Street Journal

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A dispute between Kuwait and the Philippines over reports of abuse of Philippine workers took a turn for the worse Thursday with the Philippines expressing "great displeasure" about Kuwait's expulsion of its ambassador. — Reuters

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Editor: David Green