Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, July 4

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TOKYO -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) does not endorse the Japanese government's decision with its safety review report on Japan's plan to release nuclear-contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea, the report presented Tuesday here by the IAEA chief showed.

"I would like to emphasize that the release of the treated water stored at Fukushima Daiichi Power Station is a national decision by the Government of Japan and that this report is neither a recommendation nor an endorsement of that policy," the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi noted in the foreword of the report, which he delivered in person here on Tuesday to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

"The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of IAEA Member States," said the report, noting that "neither the IAEA nor its Member States assume any responsibility for consequences which may arise from its use." (Japan-IAEA-Fukushima Nuke Wastewater)

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TOKYO -- The Chinese Embassy in Japan on Tuesday stated that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s safety report does not necessarily greenlight the Japanese government's plan to discharge nuclear-tainted water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean this summer.

Following the ocean discharge decision announced in April 2021 and the official plan released in July 2022, the Japanese government repeatedly declared that it would not delay the discharge long before the IAEA task force completed the assessment and issued the final report, leaving the international community with a serious question mark over Japan's sincerity, the embassy told a press conference held in Tokyo.

The Chinese embassy pointed out that the IAEA, in terms of functional authorization, is mandated to promote the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear technology, but is not the appropriate body to assess the long-term effects of nuclear-contaminated water on the marine environment and marine life's health. (Japan-Wastewater Discharge-IAEA Report)

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SEOUL -- Two South Korean media outlets said on Tuesday that Japan inked a "black deal" with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to "redact" the sensitive issues of the IAEA final report on Japan's planned discharge of radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

The Tamsa and The Mindlenews held a joint press conference with foreign correspondents, saying that the obtained documents supported allegations that the Japanese government provided the IAEA with at least 1 million euros to earn a draft of the IAEA final report ahead of its official delivery and demanded it be redacted in sensitive parts. (South Korea-Japan-Fukushima Wastewater)

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PHNOM PENH -- Cambodia on Tuesday decided to ban all 22 members of the Oversight Board for Meta, the parent company of Facebook, from entering the Southeast Asian country, its foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ban took effect immediately and should any of them be found inside the country, they will be deported within 48 hours, the ministry said.

The ministry said the recommendation of the Oversight Board for Meta to temporarily suspend the official Facebook page belonging to Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen is political in nature. (Cambodia-Facebook)

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DHAKA -- Bangladesh's export earnings reached an all-time high of more than 55 billion U.S. dollars in the just concluded 2022-23 fiscal year on the back of a record shipment by the readymade garments sector.

Bangladesh saw exports soar 6.67 percent to 55,558.77 million dollars in the 2022-23 fiscal year from July 2022 to June 2023, official data showed on Sunday. (Bangladesh-Export-Growth)

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WELLINGTON -- New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Brussels on Friday to witness the signing of the New Zealand-European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The FTA will deliver immediate tariff savings on New Zealand exports to the European Union of about 100 million NZ dollars (61.53 million U.S. dollars) a year when it enters into force, Hipkins said on Tuesday. (New Zealand-EU-Free Trade Agreement)

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SEOUL -- The South Korean government on Tuesday revised down its 2023 economic growth outlook by 0.2 percentage points compared to seven months ago to reflect its gloomier forecast for export.

Real gross domestic product (GDP), adjusted for inflation, was estimated to grow 1.4 percent in 2023, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. (South Korea-Growth Outlook)

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SYDNEY -- The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Australia's central bank, kept the cash rate unchanged at 4.1 percent on Tuesday.

But it warned that further tightening policy may be required to ensure inflation returns to the 2-3 percent target range in a reasonable timeframe. (Australia-Central Bank-Cash Rate) Enditem

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