Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1000 GMT, Sept. 16

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MANILA -- Four people were killed after a military helicopter crashed on Wednesday afternoon in Basilan, an island province in the southern Philippines, the military said.

Lieutenant Colonel Alaric Delos Santos, spokesperson of the military's Western Mindanao Command, confirmed the accident, saying it involved a Philippine Air Force search and rescue aircraft. (Philippines-Military Helicopter-Crash)

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SEOUL -- South Korean Unification Minister Lee In-young on Wednesday expressed hope for the resumed talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) amid the deadlocked inter-Korean relations.

"I hope that consultation channels, including the South-North joint liaison office, can be restored as early as possible and (South Korea and the DPRK) can resume frank and candid dialogue," Lee said during his first visit to the border village of Panmunjom since he took office in July. (South Korea-DPRK-Talks)

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TOKYO -- Yoshihide Suga, the new leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, was chosen as Japan's new prime minister to succeed Shinzo Abe in an extraordinary parliamentary session on Wednesday.

The parliament formally chose Suga as the nation's 99th prime minister at the extraordinary session convened in the afternoon.

Suga was elected by both chambers of Japan's bicameral parliament, winning 314 votes in the more powerful 465-member lower house and 142 votes in the 245-member upper chamber. (Japan-Suga-PM)

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HONG KONG -- Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection (CHP) reported nine new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, taking the total confirmed cases to 4,984.

The new cases included four imported and the remaining five are epidemiologically linked with local cases, according to a statement issued by the CHP. (Hong Kong-COVID-19)

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TALUQAN, Afghanistan -- Two people were killed and 12 others sustained injury as a blast rocked Kalafgan district in the northern Takhar province on Tuesday, police spokesman in the restive province Abdul Khalil Asir said Wednesday.

"The terrorists planted explosive device in the cavities of a motorbike and detonated it next to a medressah, or religious school, on Tuesday afternoon, killing two civilians on the spot and wounding 12 others, all civilians," Asir told Xinhua. (Afghanistan-Blast) Enditem

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