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Hu meets Bush, underscoring China-US relations
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 Chinese President Hu Jintao (R, front) shakes hands with U.S. President George W. Bush during their meeting at Zhongnanhai, compound of China's central authorities, in Beijing, China, Aug. 10, 2008. [Xinhua]

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R, front) shakes hands with U.S. President George W. Bush during their meeting at Zhongnanhai, compound of China's central authorities, in Beijing, China, Aug. 10, 2008. [Xinhua]

Under new circumstances, the Chinese government will continue to push for the peaceful development of the relations across the Taiwan Straits, and promote cross-Strait personnel, economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation, said the Chinese president, adding that China hopes to see Washington properly handle the Taiwan issue and support such peaceful development.

President Bush responded that the United States is glad to see the improvement of cross-Strait relations.

During the meeting, which was followed by a banquet, the US president said that he enjoyed the conversation with Hu, and has had "memorable experience" every time he visited the country.

Describing the grand opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, which he attended on Friday night, as "spectacular," Bush congratulated China on the successful opening of the Games and said he has "fully enjoyed" the Games. He also thanked the Chinese side for its considerate arrangements of various activities for himself and his family during their stay in Beijing.

Having watched a swimming final on Sunday morning in which Michael Phelps clinched a men's 400m individual medley gold with a new world record, Bush said he is looking forward to watching the basketball match between China and the United States scheduled for Sunday night.

Hu congratulated Bush on the victory of Michael Phelps, whom he called "an excellent athlete of the United States," and expressed the belief that Phelps will "achieve more outstanding results" in the Olympic swimming competition.

The Chinese president also took the opportunity to expressed sympathy over the tragic incident on Saturday in which one American citizen was killed and the other injured.

"I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to you and the family of the victims over this unfortunate incident," said Hu.

Hu said that the Chinese side has paid great attention to this incident and he has personally instructed the Chinese Foreign Ministry to visit the injured American in hospital.

"We started investigation on this case immediately, and will handle it seriously in accordance with law. We will keep contact with the US side and inform you of the new developments," said the Chinese president.

Bush thanked China for how it has handled the situation of Todd Bachman and his family, and also thanked Hu for his expression of sympathy.

Todd and Barbara Bachman of Lakeville, Minneapolis, were attacked by a man with a knife while touring the 13th-century Drum Tower of Beijing on Saturday. Todd Bachman died from knife wounds while his wife suffered multiple stab wounds and was in critical but stable condition after an eight-hour surgery.

Police said that the assailant, 47-year-old Tang Yongming from Hangzhou of east China's Zhejiang Province, later killed himself by jumping off a 130-foot high balcony on the Drum Tower.

During the Sunday meeting, the two presidents also exchanged views on other issues, including the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and the Iran nuclear issue.

They agreed that the two sides should maintain communication and coordination, and make joint efforts to facilitate the proper settlement of these issues.

Both leaders also made a positive evaluation of the progress achieved through the strategic and economic dialogue between the two countries, and agreed to work together to help the dialogue achieve more positive results.

(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2008)

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