Archive for the ‘summit’ Category

At G-20, China Did Not Commit Bailout Funds Despite Huge Reserves

November 16, 2008

China got what it wanted in Washington’s financial summit — a promise of a bigger role for developing countries in global finance — but gave no sign Sunday whether it will respond by using any of its $1.9 trillion in reserves in a bailout fund.

By JOE McDONALD, AP Business Writer

China has been pushing for developing countries generally — and itself specifically — to have more influence at the International Monetary Fund and other global bodies. Analysts say that might be Beijing’s price to give in to foreign appeals to dip into its reserves and contribute money toward an IMF emergency loan fund for struggling countries.

The Washington summit was an “important and positive” step toward “the reform of the international financial structure,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement. It made no mention of possible bailout contributions, and a man who answered the phone at the ministry press office said he had no information.

Leaders from 21 nations, including China, and four international organizations attended the emergency two-day summit intended to address the financial crisis sweeping the globe.

Summit participants vowed Saturday at the conclusion of the two-day conference to cooperate more closely, keep a sharper eye out for potential problems and give bigger roles to fast-rising nations. But the leaders avoided many of the harder details leaving them to be worked out before their next summit, after President George W. Bush is gone and President-elect Barack Obama is in the White House.

China says it will cooperate with the IMF but Chinese officials say its most important role will be to preserve global growth by keeping its own economy healthy. Beijing announced a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package last week, at a time of slowing economic growth and fears that falling exports could lead to layoffs and factory closures.

“China’s economic power is growing, so China could contribute and help ease the financial crisis,” said Wu Jinglian, a prominent economist and Cabinet adviser. “But the first priority is to keep our own economy growing. That will benefit every country in the world.”

A woman cooks while her husband playing computer games inside ...
A woman cooks while her husband playing computer games inside the prefabricated temporary housing in Yingxiu, Sichuan Province in China Nov. 8, 2008. Six months after the worst quake to hit China in three decades, the future remains uncertain for many survivors. Jobs are hard to come by, and government aid payments are about to end. Many people are still in temporary housing. China’s leaders have called reconstruction a priority. Last week, the government announced plans to pump $146 billion into the effort over the next three years. Some 120 billion yuan ($17.5 billion) will be spent on ensuring schools, hospitals and other public facilities are built to higher standards.(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

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At the Washington summit meeting, China holds the cards

November 14, 2008

It is not clear how much the leaders of developed and developing countries from around the world, gathered to discuss a fast-moving financial crisis with a soon-to-depart president of the United States, can hope to accomplish.

By Mark Landler and Stephen Castle
International Herald Tribune

But the summit meeting in Washington this weekend may clarify one thing: how fundamentally the crisis is reshaping the economic map, rendering obsolete the old club of Western powers that fashioned the financial pillars of the post-World War II era at a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1944.

While President Nicolas Sarkozy of France proposed the meeting and President George W. Bush agreed to be host of an expanded conference of G-20 nations, the most sought-after country at the gathering some are calling Bretton Woods II is likely to be China.

With nearly $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves and an economy that is still growing – even if more slowly than it was before the crisis erupted – China is one of the few participants with the financial power to aid countries in distress, either directly or by contributing to the coffers of the International Monetary Fund.

“We will actively participate in rescue activities for this international financial crisis,” Yi Gang, deputy governor of the Chinese central bank, told a news conference Friday in Beijing, according to Reuters. It was one of the clearest indications yet that China stood ready to help the IMF aid countries hit by the global credit crisis.

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Bush Offers To Host a Summit of World Leaders on Global Economy

October 18, 2008

President Bush will announce he plans to host a summit of world leaders in the near future to discuss the global response to the financial crisis, a senior administration official said Saturday.

Word of the impending announcement came at Camp David where European leaders are lobbying Bush to hold a summit by year’s end.

From Yahoo News and wire services

The summit will focus on ideas to prevent a crisis from recurring in the future and to preserve the free market system, said the Bush administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not yet been made.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso are trying to convince Bush that now is a good opportunity to tighten and better coordinate control of the financial markets, in response to the economic crisis that has shaken markets around the globe.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks during a press ... 
France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy met with US President George W. Bush at Camp David on Saturday over how and when to overhaul global economic rules to avert future meltdowns.(AFP/File/Dominique Faget)

The president has backed the steps European nations have taken to stem the economic crisis, and is in favor of a meeting in the near future of the Group of Eight industrialized powers and other emerging economies like China and India. The White House says Bush, who has just three months left in office, wants to listen to a broad range of ideas, not just from Europe, but from Asia and developing countries.

But the U.S. hasn’t signed on to the more ambitious, broad-stroke revisions that some European leaders like Sarkozy have in mind for the world financial system.

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President Bush said Saturday he will host an international summit in response to the global financial crisis, but said that any reform of financial systems must not chip away at the foundations of democratic capitalism and free enterprise.

US President George W. Bush (L) listens to remarks by French ...
US President George W. Bush (L) listens to remarks by French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Camp David, Maryland. Bush offered to host a summit on the global financial crisis and met Saturday with Sarkozy, who was expected to press the US leader for a bold relaunching of the international financial system.(AFP/Mike Theiler)

Bush, meeting at the Camp David presidential retreat with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, did not set a date or place for the meeting. Sarkozy, however, suggested it be held before the end of November in New York.

Bush said the summit attendees must be open to ideas from around the world, but he said nations should avoid protectionism.

“As we make the regulatory institutional changes necessary to avoid a repeat of this crisis, it is essential that we preserve the foundations of democratic capitalism — commitment to free markets, free enterprise and free trade,” Bush said, standing with the two European leaders at a helipad on a crisp fall afternoon.

“Together we will work to strengthen and modernize our nations’ financial systems so we can help ensure that this crisis doesn’t….

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NATO backs Bush’s missile defense system

April 3, 2008
By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer 

BUCHAREST, Romania – President Bush won NATO‘s endorsement Thursday for his plan to build a missile defense system in Europe over Russian objections. The proposal also advanced with Czech oficials announcing an agreement to install a missile tracking site for the system in their country.
Bush also was undaunted in his drive to see the military alliance expanded further eastward, despite facing an immediate setback.

US President George W. Bush talks with Belgian Prime Minister ...
US President George W. Bush talks with Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, top left, as Croatian President Stjepan Mesic shakes hands with Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, during an official photo session at the NATO Summit conference in Bucharest, Thursday April 3, 2008. The NATO allies agreed to put off a plan to put Ukraine and Georgia on track to join the alliance, but did invite Albania and Croatia to become members. Nato also agreed to a U.S., Czech Republic and Poland plan for missile defense of Europe.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) 

Fellow NATO leaders rejected his appeal to allow former Soviet republics Ukraine and Georgia to get on a path toward membership. But Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, said the president will not drop the issue and plans to make a new pitch before he leaves office in January. The United States expects to raise the matter at a meeting of NATO foreign minister in December, Hadley said.

“NATO’s door must remain open to other nations in Europe that share our love for liberty and demonstrate a commitment to reform and seek to strengthen their ties with the trans-Atlantic community,” Bush said in brief remarks at an alliance meeting. “We must give other nations seeking membership a full and fair hearing.”

The president expressed regret that NATO also declined to offer full membership at this meeting to Macedonia. The invitation was blocked by Greece, which says the country’s name implies a territorial claim to its northern region, also called Macedonia.

“Macedonia’s made difficult reforms at home,” Bush said. “It is making major contributions to NATO missions abroad. The name issue needs to be resolved quickly so that Macedonia can be welcomed into NATO as soon as possible.”

Albania and Croatia were invited to join the alliance, now currently at 26 members.

Progress on missile defense, though, represented a boon to Bush from the summit. Russia has strongly opposed the plan.

NATO leaders were adopting a communique stating that “ballistic missile proliferation poses an increasing threat to allied forces, territory and populations.” It also will recognize “the substantial contribution to the protection of allies … to be provided by the U.S.-led system,” according to senior American officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the statement’s release.

The statement calls on all NATO members to explore ways in which the planned U.S. project, to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic, can be linked with future missile shields elsewhere. It says leaders should come up with recommendations to be considered at their next meeting in 2009, the officials said.

Significantly, the document also calls on Russia to drop its objections to the system and to accept U.S. and NATO offers to cooperate on building it, the officials said.

The plan calls for 10 interceptor missiles based in Poland and a tracking radar site in the Czech Republic.

At a news conference in Bucharest on the sidelines of the NATO summit, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwartzenberg announced that negotiations with the Americans have been successfully completed and that a deal would be signed in early May. No U.S. official was in attendance, but the Czechs distributed a joint U.S.-Czech statement that said, “This agreement is an important step in our efforts to protect our nations and our NATO allies from the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.”

The Poles have yet to agree to the plan.

The backing from NATO and the announcement with the Czechs provides Bush with a powerful leg up in his negotiations with Moscow over the issue.

Bush sees NATO backing missile defense

April 2, 2008
By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent

BUCHAREST, Romania – President Bush expressed confidence Wednesday that NATO will bolster its combat forces in Afghanistan and endorse a missile defense system for Europe that Russia has opposed.
U.S. President George Bush, right, and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, shake hands after making remarks to the media during their meeting in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, April 2, 2008. Bush has expressed confidence that NATO will endorse a missile-defense system for Europe and pledge additional troops for Afghanistan, during his visit to Romania.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

“I’m optimistic that this is a going to be a very successful summit,” Bush said, sitting alongside NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer hours before the 26-nation military alliance opened three days of meetings with a leaders’ dinner.

The summit has been troubled by divisions, most notably opposition from France and Germany to giving Ukraine and Georgia a plan for eventually joining NATO. Bush indicated that was an open question because any NATO member can block it.

“We’ll see,” he said, saying one country was still an issue.

Bush has pushed NATO countries to commit more troops to the 47,000-strong NATO force in Afghanistan. At least 10 countries, including France, Germany, Norway and Poland, have announced they would do so. Bush would like to see more.

“I feel good about what I’m hearing from my fellow leaders about their desire to support Afghanistan,” the president said. “I think if tomorrow we get clarification on troop support … the people of Afghanistan are going to be more than grateful.” He did not mention any specific numbers of additional troops.

The U.S. is the biggest contributor of troops in Afghanistan, numbering 17,000 in the NATO-led force and 14,000 in a U.S.-led contingent in eastern Afghanistan that trains Afghan forces and hunts al-Qaida. The U.S. presence is set to expand by 3,500 Marines, most of them dedicated to the NATO mission.

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China’s premier invites Taiwan for ‘big-issue’ talks

April 1, 2008

BEIJING 2008 (AFP) – Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has invited Taiwan to hold “big-issue” talks on establishing direct transport links and signing a peace agreement, state media reported Monday.

Wen, who was speaking to reporters during a visit to Laos, extended the invitation in his first public remarks on Taiwan after the more China-friendly of two presidential candidates won an election on the island this month.

“(What we can talk about) include big issues, such as the implementation of the Three Links and the end of cross-strait hostility by reaching a peace agreement,” Wen was quoted as saying by China National Radio‘s website.

The “Three Links” refer to direct transport, trade and postal links, something that has not yet materialised because of continuing tensions between the two sides who split after a civil war in 1949.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory, and has vowed to aim for eventual reunification, even if it means war.

The Chinese premier said talks should take place on the basis of the so-called “1992 consensus” which lets both parties agree there is only one China, but leaves the precise definition of the term to each.

Observers said Wen’s remarks were significant due to their timing, after the landslide victory in Taiwan’s presidential election for opposition candidate Ma Ying-jeou.

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Japan urges China to sway global issues

December 28, 2007
By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – Japan urged China to use its growing influence to make an impact on key global issues such as climate change as the visiting Japanese prime minister opened a day of summit talks Friday with Chinese leaders.

The countries have a history of animosity stemming from disputes over territory, resources and wartime history, but Yasuo Fukuda’s four-day visit — his first as prime minister — follows several friendly meetings between leaders and a Chinese warship’s historic port call to Japan.

“In the long history of our relations, there has never been a time when Japan and China has had more influence or responsibilities in Asia and the world,” Fukuda said at a joint news conference with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

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Bush and Olmert express hope for peace

November 26, 2007

By AMY TEIBEL and MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH, Associated Press Writers 22 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Hours before the opening of a high-stakes international conference on the Middle East, President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed hope Monday that peace finally could be achieved. A senior member of the Palestinian delegation said an elusive joint statement on the contours for future talks was within reach.

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D.C., Annapolis brace for summit security

November 26, 2007

By Arlo Wagner
Yhe Washington Times
November 26, 2007

D.C. police say they will use rolling street closures today to protect and help move diplomats attending the first day of the Middle East peace talks.

Metropolitan Police Department Officer Junis Fletcher said yesterday the agency will close streets only “as they are needed.” However, the Annapolis Police Department is closing several city streets tomorrow, when diplomats from across the world come to the U.S. Naval Academy for the second day of the expected two-day summit.

Three streets will be closed starting at 7 a.m. in downtown Annapolis, along the west side of the Academy, which could cause some commuter delays, especially for those with work at the state Capitol.

The summit also will affect people traveling by air and water.
The Federal Aviation Administration tomorrow is keeping commercial and private flights away 2 nautical miles horizontally and 4,000 feet vertically from the Academy. The restriction will be in place from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to the agency’s Web site.

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Syria accepts invitation to Annapolis conference

November 25, 2007

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
Reuters – Sunday, November 25

DAMASCUS (Reuters) – Syria on Sunday accepted a U.S. invitation to a peace conference in Annapolis and named Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal al-Mekdad as head of its delegation in a boost to the talks’ organisers.

The Damascus government made a late decision to attend after seeing a reference to the occupied Golan heights on the agenda.

“The government of the Syrian Arab Republic has accepted the American invitation,” the official news agency said, adding that Syria decided to go after receiving a copy of the agenda stating there would be a session on reviving Syrian-Israeli peace talks.

Another round of talks, focused on normalising ties in return for Israel returning the Golan Heights to Syria, collapsed in 2000.

Syria had said it would not attend unless the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied in 1967, were on the agenda.

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