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|Wednesday, May 23, 2001, updated at 14:38(GMT+8)|
Bush Positive on China Ties -- US OfficialUS President George W. Bush was "positive" on ties with China, a top US official said Tuesday, despite tension over the visit of Daila Lama and Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's stopover in New York.
"I think we have a very good opportunity to have a relationship that is very positive," said the official, who requested anonymity. Relations are "stable and more positive than not," the official said.
The official also said that Bush will not seek to block Beijing's bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games.
Asked for Washington's position on Beijing's campaign to host the games, the official said: "That will be up to the Olympic Committee to make the decision."
An official with Bush's National Security Council, who also asked not to be identified, confirmed that the administration would not fight China's campaign to host the event.
"We just think it (not getting involved) is the right decision. It's not something the US government has gotten involved with historically," the official told AFP.
Sino-US ties have been frayed by a standoff over a downed US spy plane and US arms sales to Taiwan.
The stopover of Chen Shui-bian as well as Bush's meeting with Dalai seemed to fuel the tension.
China had earlier expressed concern over the visits, even though Washington downplayed the significance of Chen's stopovers, and insisted that the Dalai Lama's meeting with Bush Wednesday would be a "private visit."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao was optimistic about future prospects for Sino-US relations.
"I would certainly agree the Chinese response has been muted," said Nicholas Lardy, China expert and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute.
"I think they are waiting to see what actually happens. The details matter."
"If (Washington) starts treating the Dalai Lama as a head of state, things might change," he said.
No official US contact has been planned with Chen, in New York on a 40-hour stopover en route to a five-nation tour of Latin America.
On Monday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher described Chen's stopover as "a transit that was arranged for the safety, comfort and convenience of the traveler."
He added: "We don't see why there should be any impact on the relationship with People's Republic of China
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