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Bush says the spirit of the lord is strong in china

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"The spirit of the Lord is very strong inside your church," Bush said.

Bush Urges China Leader to Expand Freedoms
Nov 20 12:53 AM US/Eastern

AP White House Correspondent


President Bush called on China on Sunday to expand religious, political and social freedoms and urged steps to reduce Beijing's huge trade surplus with the United States. President Hu Jintao promised steps to resolve economic frictions.

The two leaders conferred at the Great Hall of the People on the edge of Tiananmen Square, and Hu said they both sought an outcome of "mutual benefit and win-win results."

There appeared to be no breakthroughs about U.S. demands for currency reforms in China and no concrete announcement about how China would cut its trade surplus with the United States, on track to hit $200 billion this year.

China's massive trade surplus is a political headache for Bush. As the president opened his visit, U.S. officials spread word that Beijing was buying 70 of Chicago-based Boeing Co.'s 737 planes.

The administration said the purchase was "a testament to how our approach to China is yielding real results." But in a joint appearance with Hu, Bush said China needs to do more to provide fair opportunities for American farmers and businesses seeking access to China's market.

He said China also needs to increase efforts to protect intellectual property rights. Piracy of U.S. movies, computer programs and other copyrighted material is rampant in China.

Bush is pressing China to speed the revaluation of its currency, which U.S. companies contend is undervalued by as much as 40 percent. That makes Chinese goods cheaper in the United States and American goods more expensive in China.

Hu promised Bush that China will take steps to reduce its trade imbalance with the United States but he did not discuss any specific steps.

He said China was willing to step up protection for intellectual property rights, and would "unswervingly" press ahead with currency reform _ an area where the United States says Beijing has not lived up to its promise for improvement.

"The two sides also expressed their willingness to join hands together to gradually achieve a balance of trade between China and the United States," Hu said through a translator. "The frictions and problems that may arise in this rapid development of the two-way trade may be properly addressed through consultations."

The two leaders met amid tensions about China's rising economy and military might. They readily acknowledged differences but stressed areas of cooperation, from preventing and controlling bird flu to persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions in exchange for aid, diplomatic recognition and security guarantees.

"Our two nations seek a Korean peninsula that is stable, at peace and free of nuclear weapons," Bush said as he thanked China for leading the six-country talks about North Korea's nuclear program.

Bush noted that North Korea has committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear programs.

"The United States expects them to honor that commitment," Bush said.

Bush briefly mentioned U.S. concerns about China's growing thirst for oil _ which has driven up gasoline prices in the United States.

"We had a good talk about energy," Bush said. "China is a growing economy and China recognizes, like the United States recognizes, in order to keep our economies growing in the years to come, we've got to share technology and diversify away from hydrocarbons."

Bush said the relationship with China was important for the United States and "this trip will make it stronger."

He invited Hu to come to the United States next year, a makeup for a visit that was postponed in September because of Hurricane Katrina. Hu accepted, and the official Xinhua News Agency said the Chinese president would make the trip early next year.

Bush's first public event during his two-day state visit to China was a worship service at Gangwashi Church, one of five officially recognized Protestant churches in Beijing. It was Bush's way of nudging Chinese leaders to expand religious freedom to the communist nation's 1.3 billion people.

Later, standing alongside Hu, Bush said, "It is important that social, political and religious freedoms grow in China."

"We encourage China to continue making a historic transition to greater freedom," the president said.

Bush received a standing ovation when he entered the sanctuary, which looked much like a classroom with wooden movie theater seats. There was more applause when the pastor announced his presence, and members of the choir assembled outside to see Bush off afterward.

"The spirit of the Lord is very strong inside your church," Bush said.

In the church's guest book, Bush wrote "May God bless the Christians of China."

Under the president's inscription, the first lady wrote: "And with love and respect, Laura Bush."

Despite U.S. pleas for wide coverage of Bush's visit, China's state- controlled media did not broadcast the joint appearance of the two leaders. The midday news on state television showed scenes from the welcoming ceremony for the president.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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