Top Asian News 7:14 a.m. GMT

BEIJING (AP) — China is preparing to retaliate if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump raises duties on Chinese goods and already has toughened its stance, an American business group said Wednesday. Trump, who is due to be inaugurated Friday, threatened during his campaign to raise import duties on Chinese goods to 45 percent. American companies are frustrated by Chinese market barriers and want Washington to take a tougher stance toward Beijing but worry reckless action might trigger retaliation. Already, China has ordered unusually high anti-dumping penalties against a U.S.-made agricultural chemical. "China has indeed threatened to and is preparing to take steps in retaliation if such actions take place," said Lester Ross, a board member of the American Chamber of Commerce, at a news conference.

SYDNEY (AP) — Three nations shelled out around $160 million and years' worth of work on the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The result: No plane. The only tangible — and arguably most important — clues into what happened to the aircraft have come courtesy of ordinary citizens, who bore the costs themselves. The deep-sea sonar search for the vanished Boeing 777 was suspended on Tuesday after officials conceded defeat following most expensive, complex aviation search in history. But while search crews spent years trawling in futility through a remote patch of the Indian Ocean, people wandering along beaches thousands of kilometers (miles) away began spotting pieces of the plane that had washed ashore.

SYDNEY (AP) — Australian officials defended their suspension of the fruitless deep-sea sonar search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, insisting on Wednesday that the enormous costs involved played no role in their decision to halt the nearly three-year hunt. Australia's Transport Minister Darren Chester also said that while the search had been called off on Tuesday, work behind the scenes would go on, with experts continuing to analyze data associated with the doomed aircraft's final hours and examining any future debris that washes ashore. But he declined to specify what kind of breakthrough would convince officials to resume the search for the Boeing 777's underwater wreckage.

Family members of the Chinese citizens aboard doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 say the authorities who ended the search for the plane are deceiving them. A few dozen relatives gathered in Beijing on Wednesday, one day after Australia, China and Malaysia called an end to a nearly three-year search for the plane. Nearly two-thirds of the 239 people on board were Chinese. Zhang Meiling, whose 37-year-old daughter was on board, told reporters that the authorities have "cheated us for the past three years." Another relative, Dai Shuqing, said the authorities were "wasting time" and owed them an explanation for why they failed to find the plane or the victims.

TOKYO (AP) — Caroline Kennedy stepped down Wednesday after three years as U.S. ambassador to Japan, where she was welcomed like a celebrity and worked to deepen the U.S.-Japan relationship despite regular flare-ups over American military bases on the southern island of Okinawa. Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013, she had been expected to leave with the coming change in U.S. leadership. President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has also said that all envoys who were political appointees must step down by Inauguration Day on Friday. Trump has not named a new ambassador yet. Kennedy ruffled some feathers early in her tenure by tweeting her opposition to Japan's dolphin hunt, shortly after her embassy issued a statement expressing "disappointment" that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had visited a shrine that memorializes World War II war criminals, among others.

BEIJING (AP) — China's top judge has drawn criticism from legal professionals after he dismissed the concept of judicial independence as an "erroneous Western ideal." Zhou Qiang, the head of the Supreme People's Court, was previously seen as a reformer keen on limiting the influence of government officials on local courts. However, Chinese state media quoted him over the weekend as instructing leading judges to "bare your sword" against words and actions running counter to the ruling Communist Party's dictates. Chinese legal scholars including Peking University professor He Weifang criticized Zhou in response, saying that the public will lose confidence in a legal system seen to be in thrall to the party, potentially sparking rebellion.

NEW DELHI (AP) — An Indian court has acquitted top Bollywood star Salman Khan of the charge of using unlicensed arms while hunting for rare blackbucks in a western India wildlife preserve 18 years ago. The 51-year-old was present in the court as Chief Judicial Magistrate Dalpat Singh Rajpurohit announced his acquittal on Wednesday in Jodhpur, a city in Rajasthan state. His attorney Hastimal Saraswat said the magistrate dismissed the charge against Khan for lack of evidence. If convicted, he would have faced up to seven years in prison. The prosecution argued that the license of a revolver and a rifle allegedly used by Khan had expired in 1998.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Indian Ocean search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been suspended almost three years after the Boeing 777 vanished. Here's a look at some numbers associated with the tragic mystery: ___ 40: Number of minutes Flight 370 had been flying before air traffic control lost contact with the plane on March 8, 2014. The plane was on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing when it disappeared from radar and communications and went off course for reasons that remain unknown. Investigators used automatic signals sent to a satellite to determine the plane had flown thousands of miles to the eastern Indian Ocean before crashing.

BEIJING (AP) — K.S. Narendran never boards a flight without feeling terror. And he doesn't expect that to change without answers to what happened to the plane carrying his wife three years ago. His wife, Chandrika Sharma, was one of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared over the Indian Ocean after veering far off course on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. After a fruitless search, the governments of Australia, China and Malaysia announced Tuesday that they were suspending their efforts. Some relatives of Flight 370's passengers expressed anger, disappointment and a resolve to press authorities to resume their efforts and find out exactly what happened.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The end of the deep-sea sonar search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 leaves the largest and most technologically challenging search in aviation history unresolved. Some of the key moments in the search: March 8, 2014: Air traffic control loses contact with the plane 40 minutes into a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. An air and sea search begins four hours later in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. March 15, 2014: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announces that Flight 370 was tracked by military radar doubling back across the Strait of Malacca and was sending satellite signals seven and a half hours after takeoff.

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