Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, March 10

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RAYONG, Thailand -- China's leading electric vehicle manufacturer BYD held a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday for its first car plant in Thailand, marking the latest move by Chinese automakers to expand their footprint in Southeast Asia.

The new factory, located in the Eastern Economic Corridor Special Zone in coastal Rayong province, is expected to serve as a hub for the production and distribution of electric vehicles (EVs) in Thailand, neighboring ASEAN countries and other regions. (Thailand-China-EV Factory)

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JAKARTA -- The death toll from the landslides in Indonesia's western province of Riau Islands earlier this week rose to 33 with 21 others missing, a disaster agency official said on Friday.

The disaster-hit Natuna Regency on Monday already evacuated 1,300 people after the landslides destroyed houses, Syariffuddin Muhammad, secretary of Natuna disaster management and mitigation agency, told Xinhua by phone. (Indonesia-Landslide-Death Toll)

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KUALA LUMPUR -- Former Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday was charged with six counts of abuse of power and money laundering.

For the first four counts of abusing power, Muhyiddin was accused of soliciting bribes from four separate entities amounting to 232.5 million ringgit (51.44 million U.S. dollars).

The other two counts of money laundering were filed under the country's anti-money laundering laws, in which Muhyiddin was accused of receiving and depositing bribes totaling 195 million ringgit. (Malaysia-Former PM-Charges)

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PHNOM PENH -- Cambodia has launched the China-aided landmine elimination project for 2023-2025, aiming to clear over 100 square kilometers of landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in three provinces, Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) Director-General Heng Ratana said.

"The China-Aided Cambodia Landmines Elimination Project 2023-2025 will support CMAC's landmine and ERW clearance operations in three Cambodian provinces, namely Kampong Thom, Siem Reap and Preah Vihear," Ratana wrote on his Facebook page. (Cambodia-Landmine Elimination)

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SEOUL -- Almost 60 percent of South Koreans opposed the government's push to resolve Japan's wartime forced labor issue through a foundation donated by the South Korean private sector, a poll showed Friday.

According to the Gallup Korea poll of 1,002 adults conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, 59 percent of respondents said they oppose the so-called third-party reimbursement plan as it has no apology and reparations from Japan.

Those in favor of the solution were 35 percent. (South Korea-Poll-Wartime Labor)

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TOKYO -- The Bank of Japan (BOJ) on Friday opted to maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy despite rising inflation and the yen's recent weakness.

In the last meeting chaired by Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, the BOJ decided to keep short-term interest rates at minus 0.1 percent and guide 10-year Japanese government bond yields to around zero percent.

The BOJ also said its yield on 10-year Japanese government bonds would be kept at a range of plus and minus 0.5 percent and unlimited amounts of 10-year bonds would continue to be purchased to defend its upper limit on the key yield. (Japan-BOJ-Monetary Policy) Enditem

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