Bush defends decision to attend Olympic Games’ opening ceremony

July 6th, 2008 - 5:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Toyako (Japan), July 6 (DPA US President George W. Bush defended Sunday his decision to attend the opening ceremony of next month’s Olympic Games in Beijing, saying not to go would mean offending the Chinese people. “It would be an offence against the Chinese people if I didn’t go,” Bush said in Japan after holding a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

The US president also vowed to reassure critics by saying he would raise the issue of human rights violations during his meetings with Chinese officials while in Beijing.

The White House officially ended months of uncertainty Thursday by confirming that Bush planned to attend the Aug 8 event.

A number of European leaders are refusing to go because of China’s treatment of protesters in Tibet during recent demonstrations in the region.

Bush was in Japan to attend a Group of Eight summit due to open Monday in the northern island of Hokkaido.

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