China-US basketball match gets VIP touch
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-07-10 06:50

TOYAKO, Japan -- "I'm really looking forward to watching the American Olympic team compete, particularly with the mighty Chinese team."

Millions of Americans and Chinese must be saying that, and hoping to get a ticket for what has been billed as the clash of titans.

US President George W. Bush (L) laughs with Chinese President Hu Jintao during a photo opportunity at the major economies' leaders meeting at the G8 Summit in Toyako July 9, 2008. [Agencies]

But those words were spoken by none other than US President George W. Bush.

At his meeting with President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the G8 Summit Wednesday, Bush asked, in a lighter vein, whether he could get tickets to the US-China basketball game at the Beijing Olympics.

Bush, who will attend the Games' opening ceremony, told Hu that he was looking forward to visiting Beijing with his wife, father and former president George Bush, and mother.

"I'm hoping to get tickets for the US-Chinese basketball game," Bush said. "If you can help me get a ticket I'd appreciate it," he said jokingly.

Bush said he had spoken with Hu about human rights.

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"I don't need the Olympics to talk candidly with somebody who I've got good relations with," he said.

Hu said he appreciated Bush's opposition to politicizing the Olympics, and extended a warm welcome to Bush and his family to Beijing.

Bush's wish to be present at the Games proves he values the friendship between the Chinese and American peoples, Hu said.

Hu said Sino-US relations have maintained a good momentum. The two countries have been collaborating in many fields, including trade and commerce, energy, environmental protection and anti-terrorism.

China and the US have maintained communication and coordination on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, which has helped make significant progress at the Six-Party Talks, he said. But he cautioned that all the parties still have a lot to do before the Korean Peninsula is truly denuclearized.

Bush agreed that a tangible outcome has been achieved at the Six-Party Talks, and hailed the active role China has played in the negotiations.

Hu suggested that the two countries continue constructive and cooperative relations, and strengthen their dialogue.

He spoke on the recent favorable developments across the Taiwan Straits too, especially the resumption of talks between the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation after nine years.

China wants cross-Straits relations to develop peacefully and will continue to promote exchanges in all fields, he said.

Bush said he was happy that relations across the Straits had improved.

Agencies - Xinhua