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News In Brief

British official off to speed Hong Kong's China transition

Sir Geoffrey Howe, the British foreign secretary, embarked yesterday for Hong Kong on a mission to speed up negotiations on an agreement to return the British crown colony to Chinese rule. China insists on an accord by September.

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Much of the territory of Hong Kong was ceded to Britain by China in a series of treaties dating back to 1843. The colony is scheduled to revert to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.