Chinese Dissident Verdict Expected Sunday
The lawyer for Chinese dissident Xu Zhiyong, who went on trial on Wednesday, says the verdict will be announced Sunday morning.
Xu was charged with "gathering crowds to disrupt public order." He stayed silent and did not defend himself at his trial and, if found guilty, could face five years in prison.
Xu, a 40-year-old legal scholar, founded the grassroots New Citizens Movement, which supports democracy and the rule of law and has a goal of crackdown on corrupt officials.
A total of seven New Citizens Movement members are standing trial this week and next. Three others were tried in December, though verdicts have not been delivered.
The U.S. State Department has criticized the crackdown, prompting an angry reaction from Beijing. On Tuesday, China's Foreign Ministry said foreign countries should not interfere with its internal issues.
North Korea Urges End to Military Acts in Letter to South Korea
North Korea's National Defense Commission has sent an open letter to South Korean officials saying Pyongyang is "determined to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and unity."
The North's official Korean Central News Agency carried the letter on Friday, which also vowed to work to "completely halt hostile military acts, realize the reunion of separated families and re-energize multi-faceted North-South cooperation and exchanges.
However, the letter called for an end to South Korea's joint military drills with the United States, while defending what it called its own "precious nuclear force for self-defense”.
Last week, the NDC sent a series of proposals urging South Korea to cancel schedule joint exercises with the U.S. Seoul dismissed the calls as deceptive propaganda exercises.