China and the United States are arranging a possible meeting between U.S.
President George W. Bush and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, during this
month's G-8 summit in Russia, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
But there are no plans for Hu to meet with Japan's prime minister amid
tensions between Beijing and Tokyo, said Cui Tiankai, an assistant Chinese
Bush and Hu "have said on several occasions that they look forward to meeting
each other in St. Petersburg. We are making preparations for these meetings,"
Cui said at a news conference.
China isn't a member of the Group of Eight major economies, which includes
the United States, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Russia.
But Hu will be in St. Petersburg on July 16-17 for the meeting of developing
countries, along with leaders of Brazil, South Africa, the Republic of Congo,
Mexico and India.
They are expected to discuss energy security, fighting diseases,
counterterrorism, weapons nonproliferation, African development and other
issues, Cui said.
He said that although they weren't on the agenda, tensions over North Korea's
nuclear and missile programs and Iran's nuclear program were likely to be
discussed. But he said China hoped they wouldn't overshadow the formal agenda
"We hope these major issues can be fully discussed," he said.
Possible one-on-one meetings between Hu and Russian President Vladimir Putin
and other leaders also were under discussion, Cui said.
But he said Hu has no plans to meet Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi. Asked why, Cui said only, "I think we all know very clearly the crux of
the difficulties between China and Japan."
Beijing-Tokyo relations have been strained by Chinese anger at Japanese
leaders' visits to a shrine that commemorates Japan's war dead, including war
criminals convicted of crimes against humanity. China says high-level meetings
are impossible while such visits continue.