President Bush’s visit to Beijing almost looks like a vacation — right down to a family reunion. But his three-nation Asian trip also takes him to the doorsteps of two troublesome regimes while forcing him to balance the Olympic spirit with the delicacies of diplomacy.
It will be mostly business first, with a one-day stop in Seoul to meet with President Lee Myung-bak. Getting North Korea to live up to its promise to continue dismantling its nuclear weapons program will be high on the agenda. . . .
Then comes a little break to be the First Fan at the Olympics, where the president will attend the opening ceremonies. His wife, brother and one of his daughters are going along, and they’ll meet his father and sister in Beijing.
The 62-year-old president, who says he’s “sprinting” to a strong finish to his term, plans to do a little of that literally. In an echo of his first trip to China in 1975 with his father, when he says he spent his time bicycling around Beijing, he said he hopes to take a spin on the Olympic mountain bike course.
Bush has been an unwavering supporter of the Beijing Olympics, agreeing nearly a year ago to attend and sticking to his decision despite calls to stay away to protest China’s rights lapses or its rule over Tibet.