The White House said Monday that North Korea sought to discuss a peace treaty but pulled away after the U.S. insisted denuclearization be part of the discussions. Spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. considered a proposal from the North Korea, which has long sought a peace treaty with Washington. The 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, and the U.S. retains 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against the North. The diplomatic discussions took place prior to North Korea's recent nuclear test and rocket launch that have further strained relations. Congress has since passed and President Barack Obama has signed additional sanctions on North Korea.
PANMUNJOM, North Korea (AP) - Tensions have increased significantly along the Demilitarized Zone since North Korea's recent nuclear test and rocket launch, a North Korean military official told The Associated Press on Monday, adding that while he could not comment on operational details, "the reality is that it is touch and go." Though parts of the world's most fortified border can seem like a tourist trap, drawing throngs of camera-happy visitors on both sides every year, to the military-trained eye the Cold War-style standoff along the 257-kilometer (160-mile) DMZ - established when the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty - is an incident waiting to happen.
NEW DELHI (AP) - An editor of one of Bangladesh's most respected newspapers has sparked an uproar by admitting that eight years ago, he published unsubstantiated reports alleging corruption by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, then in the opposition. He says the military fed him the information and pressured him to print it, but it's the journalist who is feeling the heat more than the country's long-powerful armed forces. The admission by Editor Mahfuz Anam of the English-language Daily Star raises questions of whether the impoverished and politically fractious South Asian nation can escape the influence of its long-powerful military, which has taken over the country twice since Bangladesh gained independence in 1971.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - Ten people have died on a single small island in Fiji as the total death toll from a powerful cyclone climbed to 29, officials said Tuesday. Government spokesman Ewan Perrin said the death toll on Koro Island had reached double figures and that most buildings there had been heavily damaged or flattened. He said a relief vessel with about 30 people aboard had arrived at the island with medical supplies, food and water, and teams were helping build temporary shelters for the 4,500 residents. "It's one of the worst hit," Perrin said. He said officials also have fears about nearby Taveuni Island, home to about 12,000 people, because they've managed to have only limited contact with people there.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - A New Zealand man whose 14-year-old son was killed in a deadly Christchurch earthquake pleaded guilty Tuesday to assaulting the lawmaker responsible for quake recovery efforts after throwing goop at him. John Howland, 41, told reporters he'd thrown the mix of chocolate, vinegar and other ingredients at Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee because he was angry at the government for not taking better care of victims' families. He faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail. Howland threw the mix at the end of a service attended by hundreds of people to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the magnitude-6.1 quake that killed 185 people on Feb 22, 2011.
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - Rationing and sales restrictions on fuel were lifted in Nepal on Tuesday for the first time in five months after ethnic protests and border blockades cut oil supplies into the Himalayan nation. Deepak Baral of the state-owned Nepal Oil Corp, which has a monopoly on importing and supplying oil in Nepal, said drivers will be able to buy as much fuel as they want from Tuesday. "The lifting of the rationing of fuel should end long lines at service stations and end difficulties for consumers," Baral said. Nepal Oil Corp is now receiving regular supplies of diesel, gasoline, kerosene, aviation fuel and cooking gas from Indian Oil Corp, which supplies all the oil products to Nepal.