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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Jiang and Bush start Texas summit
Chinese President Jiang Zemin at a Q and A at Texas A&M University
President Jiang has called for closer ties with the US
Chinese President Jiang Zemin and US President George W Bush have begun what will probably be their last bilateral talks before the Chinese leader hands over power later this year.

President Bush at his Texas ranch
A barbecue at the ranch is planned for the two presidents
The two presidents are likely to address a number of international issues during their 90-minute talks, which are taking place at Mr Bush's ranch in Texas.

Possible conflict in Iraq and North Korea's nuclear development are top of the agenda.

Mr Jiang and his wife, Wang Yeping, kept Mr Bush waiting by arriving 30 minutes late at the ranch.

Following the meeting, the two men will join their wives for a Texan barbecue.

Mr Jiang, on the eve of the meeting, called for greater co-operation between China and the US, saying working together would benefit both countries.

He made the upbeat comments in a speech to the Texas A&M University, where Mr Bush's father - former President George Bush - was among the audience.

Working together

"To prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, south Asia and the Middle East, and protect the world environment, these are major issues of concern to the people the world over," he said.

"China and the US ought to step up consultation and co-operation in these fields, for this serves the common interests of the two countries."

Mr Jiang said China was ready to work more closely with the US to find a "fair and reasonable solution" to these problems, as well as to promote international peace and stability.

Upcoming issues:

Correspondents say the issues likely to be raised at the meeting at the ranch in Texas include:

  • Iraq
    China's permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council gives it the power to veto any resolution, including US plans to demand that weapons inspectors must be allowed to return to Iraq or military action will be threatened. China has been favouring the French approach for force to be threatened only if inspectors are thwarted.

  • North Korea
    The US said last week that North Korea had admitted pursuing a nuclear weapons programme and correspondents say the issue is sensitive as Washington has accused Beijing of helping its communist neighbour develop high-grade uranium.

  • War on Terror
    China has backed the US and has received support for what it calls its own war on terror, with Washington outlawing a group campaigning for an Islamic state in China's north-west.

  • Military relations
    Talks between the countries' militaries - suspended amid the March 2001 spy plane crisis - could be resumed. The Associated Press news agency quoted US defence spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Jeff Davis as saying: "We feel that progress in overall US-China bilateral relations supports having strategic policy dialogue between our two militaries."

    Though Mr Jiang spoke optimistically of future relations, he indicated that China would not fall in step with the US on everything.

    Harmony but not sameness, reserving differences without coming into conflict

    Jiang Zemin
    "Confucius said more than 2,000 years ago: 'In human relationships, a gentleman seeks harmony but not uniformity'.

    "That is to say, harmony but not sameness, reserving differences without coming into conflict."

    After the summit the two presidents will travel to Mexico for an Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum meeting.

    Jiang legacy

    Mr Jiang's meeting with President Bush is being portrayed in Beijing as crowning his term in power.

    Chinese officials are anxious that everything should go smoothly.

    Those nagging questions that bedevil Sino-US relations - the issue of Taiwan and the question of China's human rights record - will no doubt feature during the summit but they are unlikely to derail it, correspondents say.

    The BBC's Paul Anderson
    "President Bush will also raise Beijing's record on human rights and religious freedom"
    The BBC's Justin Webb in Texas
    "(Bush) would have liked to receive more support from President Jiang but he didn't get it"
    See also:

    25 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    23 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    22 Oct 02 | Americas
    21 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    21 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
    19 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
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