Xinhua Asia-Pacific News Summary at 1600 GMT, Jan. 19

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SEOUL -- South Korean presidential Blue House on Saturday welcomed the second Kim-Trump summit, which the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States agreed to hold in late February.

Kim Eui-keum, spokesman for President Moon Jae-in, said in a statement that the upcoming DPRK-U.S. summit was anticipated to be a turning point solidifying permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. (South Korea-U.S.-DPRK-Summit)

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TOKYO -- The Japanese government said Saturday that it welcomes the second summit between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) scheduled to take place in late February.

The Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said that he hoped the summit will produce tangible results towards achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. (Japan-U.S.-DPRK-Summit)

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ISLAMABAD -- As the countries around the globe are struggling to fight air pollution, Pakistan weighs launching a zero-emission bio-power transportation fleet of 200 buses in the southern port city of Karachi, which has a population of more than 14 million people.

Advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has told local media that the Bus Rapid Transit network will help the city avoid pumping over 2.7 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air over the next 30 years. (Pakistan-Bus-Pollution)

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KABUL -- A former warlord and leader of his own party the Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan Gulbudin Hekmatyar registered with the election commission on Saturday to contest the coming presidential elections scheduled for July 20 this year.

Accompanied by his two deputies and scores of supporters, Hekmatyar after registering his name as presidential candidate told reporters that he is an "independent candidate" and wants the election commission to ensure holding free and fair elections that could facilitate the voters to choose their franchise in favor of their favorite candidates freely. (Afghanistan-Election)

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BANGKOK -- Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha Saturday condemned the gun attack in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat that has killed at least two monks on Friday, ordering a hunt for the attackers.

Prayut has instructed officials to urgently investigate the incident and step up security measures in the province. He asked the public to have confidence in the government's commitment to restore peace in the county, said government spokesman Puttipong Bunnakun. (Thailand-Gun Attack)

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CANBERRA -- Australia's peak scientific body has launched the most comprehensive voyage ever to study blue whales in Antarctica.

A team of 28 scientists from around the world set sail on the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) research ship RV Investigator on Saturday. (Australia-Blue Whale) Enditem

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