U.S. President George W. Bush will attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in China next month, the White House said on Thursday.
US President George W. Bush, seen at the White House July 2, 2008, makes a statement about his upcoming trip to Japan for the G8 summit. [Agencies]
"The president and Mrs. Bush will attend the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Olympic Games on August 8," the White House said in a statement announcing Bush's trip to South Korea, Thailand and China next month.
"He believes he's going to China to support first and foremost our athletes. He sees this as a sporting competition," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said at a press briefing.
President Bush agreed to go to the Beijing Olympics at a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in Australia last September during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
Bush himself and other senior U.S. officials have said on several occasions that the president will attend the Beijing Olympics and believed the Olympics is not a political event but a chance for athletes to compete at the top of their class, Xinhua news agency said in a report in April.