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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Xinhua - English

Xinhua - EnglishUS president Bush kicks off China visit
www.chinaview.cn 2005-11-20 00:05:25

BEIJING, Nov. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- US President George W. Bush arrived here Saturday evening, starting his third China trip since assuming presidency in 2001.

Bush's presidential plane Air Force One touched down around 18:40 local time at Beijing's Capital Airport, where the US president was greeted by Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong and US Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt.

Also arriving aboard the presidential plane were Bush's wife Laura Bush, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

Bush's China's visit was regarded as a highlight of his Asian tour, which also took him to Japan, the Republic of Korea and Mongolia.

"Bush comes to China at a key moment, as the China-US relationsare currently at a crossroad," Prof. Qu Xing, vice president of the China Foreign Affairs University, said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Bush have met several times this year. In September, the two held talks on the sidelines of the UN summit in New York.

During the talks, Hu urged the two countries to keep high-levelcontact and properly handle conflicts through consultation. The two leaders agreed to take further steps to enhance mutual trust and cooperation to promote the bilateral constructive cooperative ties.

Qu said the relationship between the two countries is generally in "good shape", but the United States is deeply concerned with China's fast development and its policy towards China has been undergone intense domestic debate.

"The direct dialogue between the President Hu Jintao and President Bush is a good opportunity to clear doubts and improve trust," He said.

Sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao are to meet with Bush on Sunday.

Zhu Feng, a professor on US studies with the Beijing University, said topics between the leaders are expected to cover economic issues like bilateral trade, RMB exchange rate and protection of intellectual property rights, as well as cooperationon international and regional affairs including Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, prevention of avian influenza and counter-terrorism.

Zhu said Bush's visit is not likely to bring about breakthrough on specific problems between two countries. "But whatis important is to maintain the positive momentum of contact and dialogue to keep the bilateral relationship moving forward steadily."

While some Americans held different attitudes toward China's growth, Chinese experts on American studies have noticed a conceptbrought up by Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick.

Zoellick, a top China policymaker, said in September that the United States must step up efforts to make China a "responsible stakeholder" in the international system to ensure that China would join the international community in addressing the challenges of the new century.

Fu Mengzi, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Contemporary International Relations, said Bush administration's evolving thinking of China could be viewed from the frequent contact between the two sides within this year.

Since the beginning of this year, China has hosted a successionof senior US cabinet members, including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defence Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Treasury John W. Snow, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns.

Fu said such frequent contact between the two sides demonstrated that the US government has realized there are still more space for cooperation between the two countries despite the outstanding conflicts and problems.

Before coming to China, Bush told press that the Sino-US relationship was a complex and important one. He also said that the United States wanted to have good working relationship with China.

"As long as the two countries are willing to have dialogue and cooperation, the bilateral relations would evolve toward a better direction. But if the the Unites States keeps the policy of containment, the China-US relations can only move toward the opposite way," Fu said.

On the sidelines of his China visit, Bush is said to plan for bicycle riding at one cycling training base located in the westernsuburb of Beijing, which will also be the cycling stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, reports said.

Bush toured Beijing on bike during a visit here in 1975 when his father, former US President George Bush worked in Beijing as US liaison officer in China.

Six Chinese cycling athletes would accompany Bush during his 10-minute ride.

"We were told to concentrate on riding and be very careful not to bump into Mr. Bush," Ren Chengyuan, one of the six athletes told reporters at the training base. Enditem

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