EVENTS

NORTH KOREA ACCUSES U.S. OF ESPIONAGE North Korea insisted Dec. 27 that US officials must apologize for the intrusion of an American helicopter into its airspace, which it called a ``deliberate act'' of espionage. US officials again denied that the men in the helicopter were spying. The State Department sent an official to seek the release of American pilot Bobby Hall, whose prospects for immediate freedom plummeted. The statement by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency was only its third mention of the Dec. 17 incident in which the US Army OH-58C helicopter strayed across the Demilitarized Zone and crashed or was shot down. Pilot Hall was captured and his co-pilot, Chief Warrant Officer David Hilemon, died. His body was returned Dec. 22 as part of a deal worked out by US Rep. Bill Richardson (D) of New Mexico, who said then that North Korea had agreed to free Mr. Hall ``very soon.''

Violence in Haiti

US soldiers and tanks Dec. 27 were occupying a main plaza facing army headquarters in Port-au-Prince, where four Haitians died in a firefight after ex-soldiers stormed the building to demand back pay. During the night, the US Army soldiers deployed concertina wire across much of the huge Champ-de-Mars plaza to close off access to army headquarters. On Dec. 26, scores of discharged Haitians soldiers had forced their way into headquarters and clashed with Haitian officers inside seeking back pay.

Truce holds in Bosnia

Bosnian Serbs and Muslim-led government forces appeared Dec. 27 to be honoring their latest truce. Yet fighting has continued among other groups, leading to warnings that this cease-fire, too, could collapse. Two government soldiers were wounded in fighting in northwestern Bosnia despite UN efforts to broaden a nationwide cease-fire, officials said.

Mexican troop buildup

Opposition leaders and mediators say they are concerned that the Army's troop buildup around rebel areas in southern Chiapas state could lead to war. Roman Catholic Church mediators recognized last week by the government told a news conference late Dec. 26 that they would travel throughout the state, checking on the troop buildup.

US arms sales to Taiwan

The United States will continue selling arms to Taiwan despite criticism from China, a US spokeswoman said in Taipei Dec. 27. Taiwan has secured agreements to buy advanced weapons including F-16 fighters and M-60A3 tanks. China protested the sales. Delivery will start next year, Taiwanese officials have said.

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