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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Bush and Hu hold 'friendly' talks
President Bush, right, and Chinese President Hu Jintao
Mr Hu and Mr Bush discussed some sensitive topics
US President George Bush has held talks with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in the Australian city of Sydney.

Mr Bush described the talks as friendly despite the fact they tackled thorny issues including religious freedom, climate change and exchange rates.

Few details have emerged so far, but Mr Bush said Mr Hu was "quite articulate" over the issue of product safety.

This contentious topic was highlighted recently by a series of recalls of Chinese-made products.

Mr Hu and Mr Bush were meeting ahead of a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders.

While the official leaders' meetings of the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum are not due to take place until the weekend, several bilateral discussions have already taken place on the sidelines.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard met Mr Hu earlier on Thursday, and the two countries agreed to hold annual security summits.

Mr Bush, meanwhile, began his day by meeting Australian opposition leader Kevin Rudd.

Mr Rudd is far ahead of Mr Howard in opinion polls with a general election due later this year. He wants to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq, in contrast to Mr Howard, who has been a staunch supporter of US policy on Iraq.

Olympic invitation

Mr Bush acknowledged ahead of the meeting that the US and China had a "complex relationship", and said he would be "darned sure" to raise contentious matters during the bilateral talks.

But after their 90-minute meeting, Mr Bush described his Chinese counterpart as "an easy man to talk to," saying: "I'm very comfortable in my discussions with President Hu."

Mr Hu, in return, called the talks "candid and friendly".

The US president was invited to next year's Olympic Games in Beijing, an invitation which he said he was "anxious to accept".

Police on patrol in Sydney on 6 September 2007

The two men did not take questions after their session, but both spoke briefly to reporters.

"We talked about Iran and North Korea and Sudan. We talked about climate change and our desire to work together on climate change," Mr Bush said.

Mr Hu added that they had also discussed increasing trade ties between their two countries.

Meanwhile, other leaders from the Apec nations are gathering in Sydney ahead of the weekend summit.

Security is extremely tight in the city, with large demonstrations expected at the weekend.

A 5km (three-mile) barrier has been erected across the city's central business district and more than 5,000 police and troops are patrolling the streets.


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