Page last updated at 04:57 GMT, Saturday, 22 November 2008

Bush and Hu meet at Apec summit

George W Bush (L) and Hu Jintao in Lima - 21/11/2008
The Apec summit is Mr Bush's last scheduled foreign trip as US president

US President George W Bush has met his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao at an Asia-Pacific summit expected to be dominated by the financial turmoil.

They discussed the crisis, as well as a nuclear inspection regime for North Korea, a White House spokeswoman said.

The meeting took place as leaders of Pacific rim countries gather in the Peruvian capital Lima.

The summit is Mr Bush's last scheduled foreign trip before he leaves the White House in January.

His main goal, aides have said, is to push the leaders of the other 20 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) nations on measures to steady the global economy.

Fast economic development in China is in itself a major contribution to upholding international financial stability
Hu Jintao

He also wants to speed up the nuclear disarmament of North Korea, the aides said, by setting up further six-party talks in Beijing later this year.

Mr Bush and Mr Hu discussed how to push forward verification of North Korea's declarations of its nuclear programme, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.

While in Lima, Mr Bush is also to meet the leaders of the other countries - Russia, Japan and South Korea - that are party to the on-and-off talks on North Korea.

'Grim situation'

Mr Bush also wants the other members of the Apec forum to sign on to a declaration made by the Group of 20 of core principles to manage the economic crisis.

The G20 - the world's richest countries and developing nations - agreed at a Washington summit last weekend to adopt measures aimed at stopping the international economic system from falling into recession.

They also agreed to push forward global free-trade talks and reform international financial institutions including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Mr Bush arrived in Lima at the end of a week that saw further drops in stock markets, the highest US unemployment figures in more than a decade and no Congressional agreement on a bail-out for troubled American automakers.

Mr Hu and Mr Bush "continued their conversation about the global financial situation, the need to reject protectionism and the work ahead for a successful framework agreement for the Doha round [of trade talks] this year," said Ms Perino.

Speaking in Lima on Friday, China's president said the situation was "grim" but that continued strong growth in his country would help maintain the global economy.

"The steady and relatively fast economic development in China is in itself a major contribution to upholding international financial stability," Mr Hu told business leaders gathered for the Apec summit.

Mr Hu's presence in Lima - the first visit by a Chinese leader to Peru - has upstaged Mr Bush's arrival, at a time when China's trade ties to Latin America are growing rapidly, says the BBC's Dan Collyns in Lima.

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