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Bush, Chinese PM Meeting at White House - 2003-12-09


U.S. President George Bush has welcomed Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to the White House for talks expected to focus on trade, North Korea and Taiwan. In brief comments before the meeting, President Bush praised China as a partner in diplomacy and in the war on terrorism.

He acknowledged Washington and Beijing have differences on issues that include trade, Taiwan, Tibet and human rights. But he said the countries hope to work those out in an atmosphere of honesty and respect.

He said both countries seek peace on the Korean peninsula, and that he is grateful for China's willingness to host multi-lateral talks aimed at persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

Mr. Bush noted China's increasing prosperity but said the country must fully integrate into the rules and norms of the international finance system.

Mr. Wen arrived in Washington Monday from New York City, where he told a business group that he came to the United States seeking friendship and cooperation, not to fight a trade war. He urged the Bush administration not to impose further trade barriers on Chinese products in an effort to correct a huge trade imbalance.

Instead, Mr. Wen suggested that Washington seek to increase U.S. exports to China.

U.S. companies are pressuring Mr. Bush to halt the import of inexpensive Chinese goods. Mr. Bush is expected to ask that China re-value its currency and further open its markets.

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