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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 02:47 GMT 03:47 UK
Bush meets China's Hu
China Vice President Hu Jintao (L) and President Bush
The two are reported to have discussed Taiwan
China's Hu Jintao, expected to become the country's next leader, has met US President George W Bush in Washington for talks covering China's human rights and the US-led war against terrorism.

Mr Hu emerged from the White House smiling, saying he had had a good meeting with Mr Bush.

Hu's life at a glance
Son of tea merchant parents
Hydroelectric engineering graduate, Qinghua university
Member of student dance team
Joined Communist Party in 1964
Senior party posts in Guizhou, Tibet
In charge of Tibet when police shot dead 70 Tibetans in 1989 protests
Joined politburo's core committee as youngest member in 1992

What US officials had described as a "get to know you" session lasted 10 minutes more than originally envisaged.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Mr Bush had "expressed his belief that the United States and China can work well together on a wide range of issues".

"He noted there may be some disagreements, but he believed they could be addressed productively," Mr Fleischer added.

Before the meeting, Mr Fleischer said the president would reaffirm that the US seeks "a peaceful resolution of any differences between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan and that we do not wish to see provocation on either side of the Taiwan Strait".

Earlier, Mr Hu had lunch with Vice President Dick Cheney and talks which also included China's economic development, and Chinese missile technology exports, Mr Cheney's spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise said.

Taiwan

Mr Hu raised the issue of Taiwan during talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Tuesday. He is expected to return to the subject during a speech to business leaders on Wednesday night.

A Chinese state-controlled newspaper published a fierce attack on Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian on Wednesday, accusing him of being a "warrior" for Taiwan's independence and of strengthening the island's military.

Falun Gong members protest against Mr Hu
Hu's visit has met with some protests
China has been rattled by President Bush's Taiwan policy. Previous administrations have been ambiguous about US support for Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack, but President Bush vowed last year to do "whatever it took" to defend the island.

China was also incensed when Mr Bush agreed a large arms sale to Taiwan.

Mr Bush and Mr Hu met briefly in Beijing in February, but Wednesday's talks were their first formal encounter.

Shadow play

US officials were hoping the meeting would shed light on the shadowy Mr Hu's thinking. They are also anxious he gains a better understanding of America, especially since he has sometimes made hardline comments about China's US relationship.

China Vice President Hu Jintao and US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
In a symbolic gesture Mr Hu visited the Pentagon

Mr Hu also met Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, a symbolic gesture of openness since Chinese officials are rarely invited to the building.

Mr Rumsfeld is seen as a key backer of President Bush's Taiwan policy.

Mr Hu has been greeted small crowds of protesters and well-wishers during his trip. Protesters have been critical of China's actions in Tibet, and its ban on the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

The US has been a persistent critic of China's treatment of religious believers and pro-democracy movements.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Adam Brookes reports from Beijing
"The politics of this leadership succession is taking place entirely behind closed doors"
Time magazine's Matthew Forney
"Hu Jintao has kept a very low profile"
See also:

27 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
US eyes China's coming man
26 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
China stops US warship's HK call
26 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese vice-president in Singapore
24 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
China's Hu warns 'bullying' nations
16 Feb 02 | Media reports
Hu Jintao: Hardliner or liberal?
20 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Neither enemies nor friends
20 Feb 02 | Americas
US-China dialogue warms
18 Feb 02 | Business
China and US reap economic rewards
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