PRESIDENT Bush asked a top Japanese politician July 17 to act as a go-between with China and emphasize the need for human rights and democracy, Japanese officials said. ``He mentioned to me that it may be appropriate if I carry some [message] ... to the authorities in Beijing'' in a scheduled visit to China next week, former Japanese Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa said after meeting with President Bush.
A White House spokesman declined comment on the meeting.
Bush has resisted Japanese calls for stepped-up World Bank lending to China, but gave tacit approval to Tokyo last week to resume its frozen $5.6 billion loan program for Beijing. China has thanked Japan for its promise to resume loans, but has chastised the West for its continuing sanctions.