CHINA / National

Hu, Bush to meet at G-8 summit in St. Petersburg

Updated: 2006-07-13 17:16

Chinese President Hu Jintao will hold a bilateral meeting with US President George W. Bush during this month's G-8 summit in Russia, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

The two sides were likely to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue during the meeting, said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, according to an AP report.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the two sides were making "active preparations for the meeting" and that the leaders would discuss "China, US relations as well as other major international and regional issues of common interest."

Hill said Thursday in Beijing that he thought the G-8 Summit would give the two leaders an opportunity for "a lot of direct discussion on what would be the next steps" in handling the North Korean nuclear issue.

In recent days, Washington and Beijing have been involved in a flurry of diplomatic exchanges in a bid to persuade North Korea to return to negotiations on its nuclear program following its test firing last week of seven long-range missiles.

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.

Possible one-on-one meetings between Hu and Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders also were under discussion, Cui Tiankai, an assistant Chinese foreign minister, said Wednesday. But he said Hu has no plans to meet Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Cui said Hu will hold a trilateral meeting with leaders from Russia and India as well as a group meeting with leaders from India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and the Republic of Congo at the summit on "safeguarding global peace and promoting international cooperation."


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