IN OTHER WORDS: Bush in China

The Chinese foreign minister, Li Zhaoxing, greeted President Bush in Beijing on Saturday. Hu said he intended to achieve balanced trade between China and the US. He said China was willing to step up its protection on intellectual property rights and help on counterterrorism, but he reiterated that on Taiwan, he would brook no compromise.

Bush thanked China for “taking the lead” in disarmament talks with North Korea, and noted that the North Koreans had agreed to give up their nuclear weapons. Bush had told US troops, “We will stay in the fight until we achieved the victory (in Iraq).”

Bush arrived in Beijing amid evidence that China has little intention of speeding the decontrol of its currency, which Bush has said fuels the country’s trade surplus, or of curtailing its crac-kdown on the media, academic and religious freedoms. Bush underscored his concerns about China’s crackdown on religion by attending a service at the Gangwashi Church. The visit was highly symbolic. He took part in a Protestant service and signed the guest book with words, “May God bless the Christians of China.”

White House officials say that Chinese government rejected the idea of a joint news conference for the two leaders, eliminating any chance that Hu would have to answer questions about the pace of democratisation.