China's Hu to visit Washington, Cuba

BEIJING Tue Nov 4, 2008 5:16am EST

China's President Hu Jintao speaks at the opening ceremony of the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 24, 2008. REUTERS/Michael Reynolds/Pool

China's President Hu Jintao speaks at the opening ceremony of the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 24, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Reynolds/Pool

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend the G-20 summit of government leaders in Washington later this month, to discuss tackling the world financial crisis, before heading south to visit U.S. ideological foe Cuba.

The meeting may bring Hu's first chance to meet the new U.S. President-elect, but he will also face pressure for China to play a larger role in efforts to soften the impact of the worsening financial storm, particularly on the most vulnerable economies.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and others have called for countries with "substantial reserves," such as China, to contribute more to the International Monetary Fund.

Beijing has kept the door open to greater participation, with a vague yet positive offer last week to consider pitching in, but has not spelled out what it might expect in return.

After the Washington Summit Hu will head south to Peru for the meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular news conference Tuesday.

He will also pay state visits to Greece, Costa Rica and Cuba, where he will meet fellow Communist leader Raul Castro.

Castro may be hoping for Chinese help to weather the global financial crisis, which has come as a painful blow to the small island nation, already reeling from two powerful hurricanes and soaring import prices.

(Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison and Liu Zhen)

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