APD | Weekly top 10 hot news (Mar.26- Apr.1)



Every weekend, Asia Pacific Daily will provide you with a run-down of the latest hot news.

This week, the following hot news you should know:

Top 1 | Russia to significantly cut military activities near Kyiv, Chernihiv after talks with Ukrainians in Turkey


Russia has decided to significantly cut its military activities around Kyiv and Chernihiv, announced one of its deputy defense ministers after meeting with the Ukrainian delegation in Turkey.

"In order to increase mutual trust and create the necessary conditions for further negotiations and achieving the ultimate goal of agreeing and signing (an) agreement, a decision was made to radically, by a large margin, reduce military activity in the Kyiv and Chernihiv directions," Alexander Fomin, the deputy minister, told reporters.

Russia's General Staff will reveal in more detail the decisions that have been made after the delegation has returned to Moscow, Fomin added.

The Ukrainian delegation, led by David Arakhamia, said they had proposed at the talks that Ukraine would adopt neutral status in exchange for security guarantees, which means Kyiv would not join military alliances or host military bases.

Top 2 | Foreign ministers of China, Russia meet in Anhui


Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov met Wednesday in Tunxi, east China's Anhui Province.

Lavrov arrived earlier in the day for the third meeting of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan's neighboring countries, which will be chaired by Wang.

Foreign ministers of Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan or their representatives will also attend the meeting, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

An extended meeting of the China-U.S.-Russia consultation mechanism on the Afghan issue will be held on the sidelines of the foreign ministers' meeting on Afghanistan.

Top 3 | ROK's President Moon, President-elect Yoon hold first meeting since election


Moon Jae-in, president of the Republic of Korea (ROK), held a dinner meeting with President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Monday, 19 days after the presidential election.

Moon shook hands with Yoon as the president-elect arrived at Cheong Wa Dae, and they walked through a garden and exchanged words about flowers and Cheong Wa Dae buildings before entering the meeting room, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Moon promised to cooperate on a budget for Yoon's plan to move the presidential office from Cheong Wa Dae to what is now the defense ministry building, Chang Jae-won, Yoon's chief of staff, said after the meeting that lasted nearly three hours.

"President Moon said he believes a determination on the relocation area of the presidential office is the next government's to make and that the current government will carefully look into and cooperate for the budget needed for the exact relocation plan," Chang said at a press briefing.

Top 4 | China-EU summit to be held virtually on April 1


The 23rd China-EU summit will be held via video link on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced Wednesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang will meet with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during the summit, Wang said.

Top 5 | Putin tells Scholz gas payments can continue in euros: Berlin


The German government said that Russian President Vladimir Putin told Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday that Europe could continue paying for Russian gas in euros and not rubles as previously announced.

German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said Putin had told Scholz that payments from Europe next month "would continue to be in euros and transferred as usual to the Gazprom Bank, which is not affected by sanctions."

The bank would then convert the payments into rubles, Hebestreit quoted Putin as saying.

Hebestreit said in a statement that Putin had stressed in the telephone call with Scholz "which took place at his (Putin's) request", that "nothing would change for European contract partners" when the new system takes effect on April 1.

"Chancellor Scholz did not agree to this procedure but asked for information in writing to better understand this procedure," Hebestreit said.

"What the G7 agreed stands: energy deliveries will be exclusively paid for in euros or dollars as it states in the contracts."

Top 6 | Delegation representing ROK's president-elect to visit U.S. in early April


A delegation representing Yoon Suk-yeol, president-elect of the Republic of Korea (ROK), is expected to visit Washington before the U.S. Congress begins its recess on April 11, Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday.

The delegation, headed by Park Jin of Yoon's People Power Party, will exchange views with U.S. officials on the Korean Peninsula situation and a future summit between Yoon and U.S. President Joe Biden, according to the report.

"The delegation is being sent to meet with officials in the U.S. government and Congress, as well as policymakers with expertise at think tanks and elsewhere in the U.S.," Yoon's spokesperson Kim Eun-hye said at a press briefing on Monday.

Yoon won a narrow victory in the ROK's presidential election on March 9 and will take office on May 10, succeeding incumbent President Moon Jae-in.

The visit comes amid escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) test-fired a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasongpho-17 last week, which was the country's first ICBM test since 2017.

"In the process, I believe they will discuss the South Korea (ROK)-U.S. alliance and ways to protect our people from North Korea's (the DPRK's) nuclear and missile threats following its lifting of its moratorium (on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests)," Yoon's spokesperson said.

Top 7 | China hosts third multinational meeting to discuss Afghanistan


Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday hosted the third multinational meeting to discuss the economic and humanitarian crisis facing Afghanistan.

Foreign ministers and other representatives from Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan exchanged views and coordinated positions on promoting stability in Afghanistan and helping and supporting the Afghan people, an official statement said following the meeting in the ancient town of Tunxi in east China's Anhui Province.

A separate meeting of the "extended troika" will involve special envoys from China, the United States and Russia.

The talks come as Afghanistan suffers a deep economic crisis made worse by deep cuts in international aid in the wake of the Taliban's takeover of the country.

Top 8 | DPRK will further develop 'powerful strike means': Kim Jong Un


Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un has stressed that the country will further develop a "powerful strike means" to reinforce national defense capabilities, the Korean Central News Agency reported on Monday, days after Pyongyang claimed that it launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

"Only when one is equipped with the formidable striking capabilities, overwhelming military power that cannot be stopped by anyone, one can prevent a war, guarantee the security of the country and contain and put under control all threats and blackmails by the imperialists," Kim said, according to the report.

While personally overseeing the test on Thursday, Kim said the new ICBM was to help deter any military moves by the United States.

Kim said the DPRK's self-defense force "cannot be bartered nor be bought with anything" and will hold firm without the slightest vacillation despite harsh trials and difficulties.

The DPRK will continue to build a "more perfect and stronger strategic force," he said.

The DPRK said Thursday's missile was the Hwasong-17, and Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) confirmed that flight data showed the launch flew higher and longer than any previous DPRK test.

Top 9 | Indonesia, Malaysia sign agreement on protection of migrant workers


Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob witnessed on Friday the signing of an agreement to improve protections for domestic migrant workers following a meeting between the leaders in Jakarta.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Southeast Asian neighbors follows concerns about migrant worker safety after several incidents involving the abuse of Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysian households.

"This MoU will ensure that every process and protection mechanism...will be done comprehensively by all relevant parties, in accordance with the laws of the two countries," the Malaysian leader said after the agreement was signed at the state palace.

The MoU aims to put in place a system designed to match Indonesian domestic workers with suitable employers. Part of the initiatives also include applications designed to strengthen wage protection and complaint resolving mechanisms.

Top 10 | Biden administration moves forward with plans to lift Title 42 border restrictions


The Department of Homeland Security is expected to move forward this week with lifting Title 42 restrictions -- the Trump-era order giving the government authority to expel migrants at the southern border under a public health emergency -- two government officials told ABC News Wednesday.

Democrats and immigrant advocates have strongly opposed the policy, citing concerns over the limits it places on migrants seeking asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief.