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The leaders of South Korea and China agreed Monday to expand cooperation in political, economic, and other fields – including North Korea's nuclear disarmament – as the two Asian neighbors push for a new strategic partnership. China is South Korea's largest trading partner, with two-way trade volume reaching $145 billion last year. Chinese President Hu Jintao and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said they want to boost that figure to $200 billion by 2010.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pulled his party out of the ruling coalition Monday, deepening a political crisis that has diverted government attention from pressing security and economic problems.

Eight climbers in the French Alps were missing and presumed dead Sunday after an avalanche swept down Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest peak. Five Austrians and three Swiss were likely buried Sunday after a massive block of ice broke off a mountain face, triggering the region's worst avalanche in more than a decade.


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