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Bush Stops in Moscow on Way to APEC Summit in Hanoi


President Bush is due in Moscow Wednesday, the first stop on his way to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is greeting Mr. Bush at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport. The two leaders, both accompanied by their wives, will meet at the airport for about 45 minutes before the U.S. presidential party departs.

Mr. Bush will spend Thursday in Singapore before traveling on to Hanoi for the APEC summit -- two days of meetings by the leaders of most Pacific Rim nations, primarily focusing on economic issues.

A senior White House official, national security adviser Stephen Hadley,says Mr. Bush will deliver a speech in Singapore urging Asian nations and the United States to work cooperatively to confront terrorism, disease and other challenges.

Meetings by ministers from APEC's 21 member economies have already begun in Hanoi. The heads of state will assemble for a dinner on Friday, then spend Saturday and Sunday in talks. The schedule includes two private "retreat" sessions, intended to encourage a candid exchange of opinions and allow time for separate, private talks between the participants.

Most policy analysts say the nuclear dispute with North Korea will dominate side meetings at the summit. Mr. Bush is expected to discuss the issue of Tibet and the Dalai Lama during a private meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The gathering of international leaders in Hanoi comes at a time when host-country Vietnam and the United States are having difficulty in establishing normal trade ties.

Monday, a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives failed to approve a bill normalizing trade relations with Vietnam, after concerns were raised about the dumping of textiles on the U.S. market and Vietnam's human-rights problems.

After leaving Hanoi on Monday, Mr. Bush will conclude his Asian tour in Indonesia. He will return to Washington late Tuesday after stopping in Hawaii to meet with U.S. troops.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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