Accessibility links

Terrorism, North Korea on Bush's Agenda During Visit to China - 2002-01-15

Chinese officials say terrorism and North Korea will be on the agenda next month when President Bush visits China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi describes Mr. Bush's February trip as a "working visit." He says the two sides will talk about stalled efforts to reconcile North and South Korea, which have been bitterly divided for more than five decades.

Mr. Sun says Washington and Beijing both want to contribute to safeguarding peace and development on the Korean Peninsula.

China supported neighboring North Korea in its war against the South in the early 1950s. Beijing has given aid to the communist North for the past several years to help it cope with a long famine and is considered Pyongyang's only friend. In the past decade, however, China has opened normal relations with South Korea.

The United States is South Korea's main ally, but the Bush Administration was initially skeptical of Seoul's effort to engage the North.

That skepticism angered North Korea and was a factor in the stalling of reconciliation talks. The talks began in 2000 when South Korea's president made a historic trip to North Korea.

China says terrorism also will be on the agenda during Mr. Bush's visit. Mr. Sun says the two sides share an interest in fighting terrorism and that relations have sharply improved since Beijing supported Washington after September's attacks on the United States.

Mr. Bush's Asian trip will also include a stop in South Korea and another in Tokyo, where talks are expected to cover efforts to reform key sectors of Japan's faltering economy.