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World Briefings

There have been many negotiations with international implications in North and South Korea this week. The top US arms control negotiator is in Seoul to discuss North Korea’s missile program and suspected development of weapons of mass destruction. Also in Seoul, North and South Korea have opened economic cooperation talks.

In Pyongyang, Japan and North Korea end two days of talks with no sign that they resolved their major differences, but they have agreed to continue talks next month. A joint statement says the two countries will remain committed to reducing regional tensions and establishing peaceful diplomatic relations.

Flooding from China’s rain-swollen Yangtze River has spared the central city of Wuhan, but authorities in nearby towns are warning residents to brace for high water. Heavy rain caused water levels in the country’s second largest lake, Dongting Lake, to rise again, after the lake began to recede on Sunday. Since the flooding began in June, more than 900 people have died.

Earlier this week, China issued new regulations controlling the export of missile technology. The new licensing system requires exporters to be registered and transfers to be approved by the government. The regulations also lay out tough penalties for those who falsify applications or attempt to export controlled items without approval.

The war crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic continued at The Hague this week after a month-long recess. Witnesses are testifying against the 61-year-old Mister Milosevic, who is facing more than 60 charges of war crimes and genocide arising from conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo during the 1990’s.

And Spain’s parliament voted to seek a ban on Basque political party Batasuna, for supporting Western Europe’s most active guerilla group, ETA. The ban on the Batasuna, which Parliament passed by a vote of 295-10, prohibits the party from holding meetings and even shuts off the utility services at the party offices. The ETA has killed more than 800 people since 1968.