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Hu tells Bush
Beijing will not tolerate Taiwan's independence

          BEIJING, Nov 20: China will not tolerate Taiwan's independence, Chinese President Hu Jintao told his US counterpart George W Bush during a meeting here Sunday,report agencies.
"I reaffirmed to President Bush that the Chinese government and Chinese people are committed to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits," Hu said in a statement after their meeting.
"And we're ready to do our utmost with all sincerity to strive for the prospect of a peaceful reunification of our country.
"This being said, we will by no means tolerate so-called Taiwan independence."
Hu told Bush he appreciated the US president's stated opposition to Taiwan moving towards formal independence and his commitment to abiding by the "one-China" policy, under which Beijing defines Taiwan as part of its territory.
However, he urged Bush to continue to discourage Taipei's pro-independence moves, arguing that doing so was in the interest of the United States.
"To oppose and check so-called Taiwan independence and safeguard peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits serves the common interests of China and the United States," Hu said.
Taiwan separated from mainland China in 1949 at the end of a civil war but Beijing insists it is still a part of its territory that must eventually be reunified, by force if necessary.
Despite switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, the United States remains Taiwan's biggest arms supplier and is bound by US law to help the island defend itself against any attack.
Beijing has said the Taiwan issue is at the core of Sino-US relations and is the most sensitive issue affecting the relationship.
Meanwhile: US President George W. Bush told Chinese President Hu Jintao after the two met here Sunday that Beijing must grant its citizens broader "social, political, and religious freedoms".
Meanwhile: The United States demands that North Korea honor its commitment to end its nuclear weapons program, US President George W. Bush said Sunday during a visit to China, the North's closest ally.
He was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Hu during which both discussed ways to make progress in the six-party talks, which are aimed at halting the North's nuclear ambitions.
China is also Pyongyang's biggest aid provider and Washington needs Beijing's help to resolve the nuclear issue.
Bush said the United States and China both want "a Korean peninsula that is stable, peaceful and free of nuclear weapons."
The six nations involved in the talks are the United States, the two Koreas, China, Russia and Japan.
Meanwhile: China and the United States will strengthen their cooperation in preventing the spread of deadly bird flu, the two nation's presidents said Sunday after meeting in Beijing.
Bush thanked Hu for his agreement to work together to control the disease.
However there were no details released of any new initiatives the two countries intended to take together.
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003 and led to the slaughter of hundreds of millions of poultry around the world.
China, which has the world's biggest poultry industry, has reported 15 bird flu outbreaks and one human death from the virus since last month.
Health experts fear the virus could mutate into a form that can be easily transmitted between humans and rapidly develop into a global pandemic that could kill millions of people.
Another report adds: Chinese President Hu Jintao said Sunday he will visit the United States early next year, as he met with his US counterpart George W. Bush in Beijing.
Hu, speaking in front of reporters to Bush during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People, said he had accepted an invitation from the US president.
Bush told reporters he looked forward to returning the hospitality shown by Hu during his visit to Beijing.
"I look forward to welcoming you Mr President in our country so we can continue our dialogue on how to make our relationship open and constructive for people in both countries," Bush said.
Hu postponed an official meeting with Bush in the United States in September this year, when he travelled to New York for the United Nations' General Assembly, due to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
Before meeting Hu, Bush visited the government-approved Gangwashi church in Beijing, where he urged Chinese leaders to grant their people greater religious freedoms.
He was due to meet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao later in the day, before leaving for Mongolia Monday.
Bush arrived in Beijing Saturday night from South Korea, where he attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum leaders' summit alongside Hu.


BEIJING: US President George W Bush (L) inspects a guard of honour along with Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Sunday. Bush is on a three-day visit to China having just left the APEC conference in South Korea. AFP Photo
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