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China sets September for Hong Kong accord

China stepped up the pressure ahead of next week's talks with Britain on the future of Hong Kong, formally setting a deadline of next September for a negotiated settlement.

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''If no agreement is reached by then, China will announce its own policies and guidelines unilaterally,'' chief Foreign Ministry spokesman Qi Huaiyuan said. Sino-British talks have been going on for more than a year with the aim of maintaining Hong Kong's stability and prosperity up to and beyond 1997, when most of the colony is due to revert to China as Britain's 19th-century lease expires.