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US and Chilean agents squabble at APEC summit

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US and Chilean agents squabble at APEC summit


There was a moment of drama at the APEC summit in Caracas when US President George Bush had to haul one of his own bodyguards from the clutches of Chilean security agents when they tried to prevent members of the White House entourage from accompanying their leader.

It is not clear what caused the squabble and Washington has played down the issue. There was a much more amicable atmosphere among the leaders of the 21 nations who make up the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The occasion is Bush’s first international assignment since his re-election. APEC talks are normally dominated by efforts to advance trade links between the member states but this time around security and nuclear issues are high on the agenda. Bush wants his Asian allies to put more pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear development programme. He is looking to China in particular to help restart negotiations with Beijing. US-Asian economic relations are also at the heart of the discussions amid concerns about the falling valued of the dollar. Bush sought to reassure other leaders that Washington was committed to a strong dollar and was working to halt its slide.
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