North Korea accused the United States of "hostile provocation" on Thursday for criticizing its ballistic missile tests during a United Nations Security Council meeting and warned that the Trump administration may have blown its chance to salvage nuclear negotiations.
An unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the "foolish" U.S. comments helped North Korea reach a "definite decision" about its next steps as it approaches an end-of-year deadline set by leader Kim Jong Un for Washington to offer mutually acceptable terms to revive the nuclear talks. The North did not specify what those steps were.
At a Security Council meeting on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft said North Korea's "deeply counterproductive" ballistic missile tests risk closing the door on prospects for negotiating peace but said the Trump administration is "prepared to be flexible" and take concrete, parallel steps toward an agreement on resuming talks.
"The U.S. talks about dialogue, whenever it opens its mouth, but it is too natural that the U.S. has nothing to present before us though dialogue may open," the spokesperson said in a statement released through North Korean state media.
"U.S. did a foolish thing which will boomerang on it, and decisively helped us make a definite decision on what way to choose," the statement said.
Negotiations faltered after the United States rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of the North's nuclear capabilities at Kim's second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump last February.
Kim has said North Korea could seek a "new path"" if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure against the North.
North Korea has conducted 13 rounds of ballistic missile and rocket artillery tests since May to pressure Washington, and has hinted at lifting a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests if the Trump administration fails to make substantial concessions before the new year.
The United States has continued to push for talks, but North Korea has said it is unwilling to continue rewarding Trump with meetings and summits he could chalk up as foreign policy wins unless it gets something substantial in return. There are doubts about whether Kim will ever voluntarily give away a nuclear arsenal he may see as his biggest guarantee of survival.
On Sunday, North Korea's Academy of National Defense said a "very important test" was conducted at a long-range rocket facility on the country's western coast, touching off speculation that the North could have tested a new rocket engine for either a satellite-launch vehicle or an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Lawyers seeking to halt what they allege is an ongoing genocide in Myanmar have slammed Aung San Suu Kyi's defense of her country's armed forces, saying Thursday that the fallen pro-democracy icon chose to ignore "unspeakable" acts committed against civilians.
Acting on behalf of a large group of Muslim nations, Gambia requested emergency legal proceedings at the U.N.'s top court to recognize that Myanmar's armed forces committed genocide against the Rohingya minority in 2017 and that violations continue.
With maps, satellite imagery and graphic photos, Myanmar's accusers have detailed what they insist is a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide — including the killing of civilians, raping of women and torching of houses — that saw more than 700 ,000 Rohingya flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
Gambia wants the International Court of Justice to take "all measures within its power to prevent all acts that amount to or contribute to the crime of genocide." The hearings have seen the astonishing spectacl e of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate defending the very army that ordered her kept under house arrest for some 15 years.
"There is no reasonable conclusion to draw other than the inference of genocidal intent from the state's pattern of conduct," l awyer Paul Reicher told the court, based in The Hague.
"We heard nothing about sexual violence from Myanmar yesterday, not a single word about it," Reicher said. "Because it is undeniable and unspeakable, they chose to ignore it completely. I can't really blame them. I would hate having to be the one to defend it."
On Wednesday, Suu Kyi said the allegations against the army stem from "an internal armed conflict started by coordinated and comprehensive armed attacks ... to which Myanmar's defense services responded. Tragically, this armed conflict led to the exodus of several hundred thousand Muslims."
She said that Gambia's representatives had painted "an incomplete and misleading factual picture" of what happened in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state in August 2017.
Police arrested dozens of people and enforced curfew Thursday in several districts in India's northeastern Assam state where thousands protested legislation granting citizenship to non-Muslims who migrated from neighboring countries.
Groups of protesters defied the curfew in Gauhati, the state capital, on Thursday morning and burned tires before police dispersed them.
Soldiers drove and marched though the streets to reinforce police in violence-hit districts, which included Gauhati and Dibrugarh, said state police chief Bhaskar Mahanta.
The protesters in Assam oppose the legislation out of concern that migrants will move to the border region and dilute the culture and political sway of indigenous tribal people. The legislation was passed by Parliament on Wednesda andnow needs to be signed by the country's ceremonial president, a formality, before becoming law.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for peace and in a tweet said: "I want to assure them — no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow."
The Press Trust of India news agency said the protesters uprooted telephone poles, burned several buses and other vehicles and also attacked homes of officials from the governing Hindu nationalist party and the regional group Assam Gana Parishad.
Police used batons and tear gas to disperse protesters in 10 out of the state's 33 districts.
In curfew-bound Gauhati, police escorted a team of Japanese security officials to their hotel to prepare for a likely visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday for a summit with Modi.
Abe's visit is yet to be officially announced by India. Media reports say the summit may shift from Gauhati to another city because of ongoing protests. Assam was chosen as the venue for Abe's visit because the state has several Japanese government-aided projects.
Assam is also one of India's northeastern states where foreign journalists require permission to visit.
While those protesting in Assam are opposed to the bill because of worries it will allow more migrants regardless of their religion, others consider the measure as discriminatory for not applying to Muslims.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to grant Indian nationality to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs who fled Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh because of religious persecution before 2015. It does not, however, extend to Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar.
Home Minister Amit Shah rejected criticism the legislation was anti-Muslim, saying it did not affect the existing path to citizenship available to all communities.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty India said it legitimized discrimination on the basis of religion and stood in clear violation of India's Constitution and international human rights law.
"Welcoming asylum seekers is a positive step, but in a secular country like India, slamming the door on persecuted Muslims and other communities merely for their faith reeks of fear-mongering and bigotry," the group said in a statement.
Several opposition lawmakers who debated the bill in Parliament said it would be challenged in court.
The bill's passage follows a contentious citizenship registry exercise in Assam intended to identify legal residents and weed out those in the country illegally. Shah has pledged to roll it out nationwide, promising to rid India of "infiltrators."
Nearly 2 million people in Assam were excluded from the list — about half Hindus and the other half Muslims — and have been asked to prove their citizenship or else be rendered stateless.
India is constructing a detention center for some of the tens of thousands the courts are expected to ultimately determine came to the country illegally.
But for many Hindus who were left off Assam's citizenship list, the bill could provide protection and a fast track to naturalization.
China on Wednesday said that the current World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body impasse has imposed the most severe blow to the multilateral trading system since the establishment of the WTO in 1995.
"Unfortunately, the WTO Appellate Body has become another victim of U.S. unilateralism and protectionism," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a regular press briefing.
"The international community must uphold fairness and justice, and cannot let individual countries or individuals do whatever they want," she said, stressing that China believed its concerns were shared by the vast majority of the international community.
The United States is now acting arbitrarily, obstructing relevant processes and paralyzing the Appellate Body, which reflects the fragility of the multilateral trading system, said Hua.
China is willing to work with WTO members that share the common goal of continuing to tackle the challenges facing the Appellate Body, said the spokesperson.
The WTO will no longer be able to review dispute rulings between countries because its Appellate Body will not have enough judges starting from Wednesday.
The Appellate Body, considered the supreme court of the WTO, is supposed to have seven judges. At least three members are needed to hear an appeal. Since the terms of two of the three remaining judges ended on Dec. 10 and the United States has blocked the nomination of new judges, the Appellate Body will be unable to hear new disputes.
The Hong Kong Ocean Park said on Wednesday that its net deficit for the 2018-2019 fiscal year ending June 30 widens to around 557 million Hong Kong dollars (71 million U.S. dollars), more than double of about 237 million (30 million USD) in a fiscal year before.
In an annual report of financial results from July last year to June this year, Ocean Park's visitor attendances remained stable at 5.7 million, compared with the figure of 5.8 million in 2017-2018 fiscal year.
The Ocean Park saw around 1,734 million Hong Kong dollars (222 million dollars) in revenue, up around 3 percent year-on-year from 1,686 million Hong Kong dollars (216 million dollars) previously, while operating costs increased to over 1,500 million Hong Kong dollars (192 million dollars).
The resort said the net deficit was caused by investments on new entertainment projects, repairs and maintenance expenses on facilities damaged by Typhoon Mangkhut, as well as expenses associated with new infrastructure and facilities.
The park pointed out that it saw a strong local attendance fueled by Hong Kong resident-exclusive promotions and a growth of individual travelers from overseas markets. The growth momentum in local and overseas individual travelers attendances was countered however by the continued decline in tour group tourists attendances which echoed the worldwide trend of personalization in travel, it said.
Chairman of Ocean Park Leo Kung said in the report that the resort was facing piercing competition and increasingly difficult market environment. Despite cost pressures, it's mandatory for the park to invest in new infrastructure and entertainment offering to lift guest experience and maintain itself as an entertainment destination and tourism hotspot, he added.