Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, July 28


TOKYO — Japan said on Tuesday that the recent erecting of statues of a man kneeling in front of a girl symbolizing “comfort women” in a garden in South Korea could see bilateral ties between the two countries deteriorate further.

Named “Everlasting Atonement,” the statues were erected at a private botanical garden in Pyeongchang, in the country’s northeast, South Korean media has speculated that the male statue is supposed to depict Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Japan-South Korea-“Comfort Women”)

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KABUL — Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday that the government will release 600 contentious Taliban inmates to pave the way for the long-delayed intra-Afghan peace talks, the Presidential Palace confirmed on Twitter.

“To demonstrate the government’s commitment to peace, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will soon complete the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners as part of the exchange with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) prisoners,” the place quoted Ghani as saying during the fourth Senior Officials Meeting (SOM), an annual donor nations meeting held earlier in the day in Kabul. (Afghanistan-Taliban-Talks)

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KUALA LUMPUR — Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was found guilty of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering on Tuesday in a case related to SRC International, a former unit of state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The verdict is the first in several corruption trials against Najib. (Malaysia-Najib-Corruption Charges)

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BANGKOK — The Thai government said on Tuesday that two more Thai soldiers had infected with COVID-19 after returning from a military exercise in Hawaii.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said both men, aged 22 and 25 years, had been in quarantine since their arrival back from the U.S. state of Hawaii on July 22. (Thailand-U.S.-COVID-19)

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HONG KONG — The governing council of the University of Hong Kong decided to dismiss associate professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an organizer of the 2014 illegal “Occupy Central” movement, at a meeting on Tuesday.

The decision, made after a vote of 18 to two, reversed a previous report by the senate of the university to keep the position of Tai, which said his involvement in the movement, while damaging the reputation of the university and proved to be misconduct, should not be the reason for dismissal. (Hong Kong-Tai-Dismissal)

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