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Bush: Chinese people watching carefully
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US President George W. Bush holds a joint news availability with the Prime Minister of Japan Yasuo Fukuda at the G8 Summit at The Windsor Hotel Toya Resort and Spa in Toyako, Japan July 6, 2008. [Agencies]

US President George W Bush Sunday defended removing North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and once again made clear he will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics as world leaders assembled to address soaring gas prices, climate change and African aid in Japan.

At a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Bush explained his decision to attend the opening ceremony on August 8 in Beijing. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he will attend the closing ceremony, as London will be the host of the 2012 Summer Games.

The Associated Press reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper planned to skip the Beijing event, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy is considering not attending.

"The Chinese people are watching very carefully about the decisions by world leaders and I happen to believe that not going to the opening ceremony for the games would be an affront to the Chinese people, which may make it more difficult to be able to speak frankly with the Chinese leadership," Bush said.

Fukuda announced that he also intended to go.

"There are many aspiring athletes that will be going to Beijing, and I would like to cheer them on, too, which I think is only natural. I don't think you really have to link Olympics to politics," the Prime Minister said.

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