Bush plans state visit to Beijing in November

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 12:00am

US President George W. Bush is set to visit Beijing in November, two months after a state visit to the United States by President Hu Jintao .

The exchange of visits will be the most significant event in Sino-US relations since Mr Bush's last visit to China in 2002, diplomatic sources said.

The November visit has been agreed in principle by China and the US.

Mr Hu's state visit, after attending the United Nations' 60th anniversary celebrations in New York, will be his first since he took over the presidency from Jiang Zemin in 2003. Mr Hu visited the US in May 2002 when he was vice-president.

Sources said diplomats from the two nations were working out details of the presidential summits to ensure they would produce substantial results and progress on a series of bilateral and global issues.

It is understood the two leaders agreed to the visits on the sidelines of the Apec meeting in Chile in November. The matter was again discussed during US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to the mainland last week.

The agreement on the timing of the visits comes at a time of strained Sino-US relations, which have been exacerbated by the recent passage of China's Anti-Secession Law.

Washington said the law, which sanctions the use of force against Taiwan if it seeks formal independence, was unhelpful for cross-strait relations - a comment that triggered anger from China.

Diplomats said Beijing and Washington were keen to improve relations. They said Dr Rice's visit had achieved progress on the summits.

Additional reporting by Ray Cheung