07/07/2008 - President Bush arrived on the mountainous northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on Sunday to talk to world leaders about climate change, soaring oil and gas prices and aid to Africa. But first he defended his decision to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing next month — and he got a little help from his host, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who announced he would go, too.
“I view the Olympics as an opportunity for me to cheer on our athletes,” Mr. Bush said at a news conference after the two leaders met privately. He said not going to the ceremony “would be an affront to the Chinese people” that might make it “more difficult to be able to speak frankly with the Chinese leadership.”
One expert monitoring the talks here, Philip E. Clapp of the Pew Environment Group, said negotiators were considering a proposal put forth by China. In it, China would agree to a long-range target for reducing emissions by 2050 in exchange for a commitment from the United States to set a “solid, aggressive target” for reducing its emissions in a shorter time frame, by 2020.
Read the complete article Bush, Preparing for Talks, Defends Olympics Decision on The New York Times' Web site.
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