Chris Buckley

China defends Darfur stance as pressure grows

China defended its stance on Darfur on Friday and urged patience as Western critics warned that Beijing's reluctance to back stronger action in the troubled Sudanese region could blight Olympic Games goodwill. China has pressed Sudan to accept United Nations peacekeepers alongside African Union forces struggling to quell bloodshed in Darfur.

China nightclub blast kills 25, injures 33

An explosion in a nightclub in north-east China killed 25 people and injured 33, state media reported on Thursday as investigators sought to pin down the cause. The blast hit an entertainment club in Benxi county, Liaoning province, at about 9pm (1pm GMT) on Wednesday, the China News Service reported.

N Korea agrees to disarmament steps

North Korea agreed to take steps towards nuclear disarmament under a groundbreaking deal struck on Tuesday that will bring the impoverished communist state more than -million worth of aid. Under the agreement Pyongyang will freeze the reactor at the heart of its nuclear programme and allow international inspections of the site.

China retakes centre stage in North Korea crisis

Delegates to six-party talks began converging on the Chinese capital on Wednesday seeking to defuse North Korea's smouldering nuclear crisis, but envoys and analysts cautioned that any final deal is a distant prospect. China's chief delegate, Wu Dawei, has said the talks may last three or four days.

N Korea eyes nuclear test in coal mine

North Korea is ''more or less ready'' to conduct a nuclear test deep inside an abandoned coal mine but might hold off it can win concesssions from the United States, a Chinese source briefed by Pyongyang said on Friday. The source said a device would be detonated about 2 000 metres inside a mine near the border with China in the north of the country.

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