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. Bush, China's Hu to discuss Iran, North Korea, trade
NEW YORK (AFP) Sep 14, 2005
US President George W. Bush, seeking Beijing's support for keeping nuclear weapons from Iran, met Tuesday with Chinese President Hu Jintao amid Sino-US tensions on trade issues.

The two leaders, meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, were also expected to focus on the six-nation diplomatic efforts to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

And Bush was set to warn Hu that Washington was actively considering bringing a formal World Trade Organization complaint against Beijing over counterfeiting copyrighted US products, according to a US official.

US Trade Representative Rob Portman said in an interview Monday with USA Today that US government lawyers were putting together information necessary to making a WTO case against China.

Ahead of the meeting, US officials sought to dispel doubts about whether Washington agrees with Pyongyang that it has a right to civilian nuclear power plants after Bush made comments suggesting Iran had such a right.

"It's a right of a government to want to have a civilian nuclear program, but there ought to be guidelines in which they be allowed to have that civilian nuclear program," Bush said in a press conference at the White House.

Asked whether the US president was sending a signal to North Korea, a senior US administration official replied: "No, he was not" and went on to urge reporters not to read the comments as a subtle signal to Pyongyang.

North Korea earlier asserted an inalienable right to have nuclear power plants, reiterated a demand that broke up talks with South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia five weeks ago.

US envoy Christopher Hill reiterated before leaving the United States that North Korea must get out of the nuclear business altogether.

The now-familiar impasse came as the United States, North Korea, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea returned to the negotiating table.

On Iran, Bush said he would be "speaking candidly" to Hu and Russian President Vladimir Putin this week about efforts to make sure that Iran does not use what it says is a civilian nuclear program to get atomic weapons.

"Iran with a nuclear weapon will be incredibly destabilizing. And therefore, we must work together to prevent them from having the wherewithal to develop a nuclear weapon," he said.

Bush stopped short of saying that referring Tehran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions was now a foregone conclusion. As permanent council members, China and Russia could veto any sanctions.

The Bush-Hu talks came after the two leaders agreed to postpone indefinitely a September 7 meeting because of the chaos wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

US officials have declined to say whether that face-to-face will be rescheduled before Bush visits China in November.

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