South Korea

Top U.S. defense officials delivered a rare and public rebuke of a top ally in Asia, South Korea, following Seoul's decision last week to pull out of a 2016 intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo.

That withdrawal was sparked by a bitter dispute between the two countries that began over compensation for Korean victims of war crimes perpetrated by Japan during its decades of occupation of the Korean peninsula, which ended after World War II.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

South Korea plans to terminate a military intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan, prompting concerns about security cooperation between Seoul, Tokyo and Washington as North Korea's nuclear and missile threats loom over the Korean Peninsula.

It's the latest breakdown between Seoul and Tokyo: Earlier this month, Japan removed South Korea from its "whitelist" of favored trade partners, prompting a retaliation in kind.

South Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world. But that level of connectivity is a double-edged sword in a society that some experts say is becoming increasingly addicted to the Internet and where 95% of adults own a smartphone.

President Trump will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on Thursday, as Moon attempts to get U.S. talks with North Korea back on track.

It will be the first meeting for Moon and Trump since the failed summit in Hanoi, which ended with no agreement from Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un on denuclearization.

South Korea is using its military to contain a large forest fire that spread quickly after igniting in Gangwon Province, along the country's east coast. Strong winds moved the blaze from city to city, prompting President Moon Jae-in to declare a national emergency.

It's being called the worst wildfire to hit South Korea in years, forcing thousands to evacuate and ravaging rural towns. Fire officials are reporting two deaths, according to the Associated Press.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit President Trump in Washington on April 11, after U.S. denuclearization talks with North Korea fizzled; the two sides are now at a stalemate.

Moon and First Lady Kim Jung-sook will visit the Trumps at the White House, where the two leaders will discuss "the latest developments regarding the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as well as bilateral matters," the White House says.

A total of four Korean entertainers have abruptly retired from the industry this week, in a widening scandal linking the glossy world of K-pop with a series of seedy sex crimes. The biggest players — Seungri, of the influential all-male group Big Bang, and the 29-year-old singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young — have both apologized to the public for their involvement in twin, interlocking cases of exploitation of women.

Progress toward an agreement between the U.S. and North Korea may have slowed, but South Korea has taken another remarkable step toward linking up with the neighboring regime — by train.

Last week, a South Korean train crossed the border into North Korea for the first time in a decade. It was a prelude to the two Koreas reconnecting their railways, after being separated for more than half a century.

South Korea is determined to push railway development forward, despite the lack of progress on the North Korean nuclear issue.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says he will visit Seoul "in the near future," amid an ongoing summit with South Korea's Moon Jae-in in which he also renewed pledges to shut down a primary missile launch site and a key nuclear weapons complex if the U.S. takes "corresponding" measures.

Kim's remarks about traveling to Seoul were made during a news conference in Pyongyang with the South Korean president. It would be the first-ever visit to the South Korean capital by a North Korean head of state.

The two Koreas have set a date for a new summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, even as U.S. diplomacy with North Korea has stalled.

The Korean leaders will meet in Pyongyang from Sept. 18-20 in what will be their third meeting since April.

"The North's official media said today that Kim Jong Un has reaffirmed his commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and the suspension of all future long-range missile tests," NPR's Rob Schmitz reported.

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