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article imageUS first lady cancels trip to Australia to attend the APEC Summit

By dpa news     Aug 27, 2007 in World
Washington - The US first lady Laura Bush has cancelled plans to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) in Australia because of a pinched nerve, the White House said Sunday.
Bush, who was to travel with US President George Bush to the September 8-9 summit, gave the news directly to Janette Howard, wife of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, in a telephone conversation on Saturday.
"Mrs Bush has been treated with physical therapy for a pinched nerve, which she injured while hiking earlier this year," the statement said. It was not clear if it was a back problem.
The first lady's physicians urged her not to travel overseas to avoid aggravating and complicating the problem, the statement said.
US, Japan and Australia to hold APEC talks
Sydney - The United States, Japan and Australia will hold their first ever tripartite meeting when leaders from 21 Asia-Pacific nations gather in Sydney next month, Prime Minister John Howard said Saturday.
President George W Bush, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Howard will meet for breakfast on Saturday, September 8, the prime minister said.
The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' meeting and be termed a trilateral security dialogue.
"That dialogue is not aimed at anybody but it expresses the fact that as strong cooperating democracies, we do have some common interests in the Pacific region and it's an opportune time to have that meeting," Howard told reporters.
The agenda is expected to include North Korea's nuclear programme and China's military build-up.
Japan and Australia have formal military alliances with the US and are staunch allies in the region. In March the trio agreed to cooperate more closely in tackling terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and in peacekeeping operations.
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the US and Vietnam comprise APEC, which represents half of world trade, a third of its population and 60 per cent of the output of goods and services.
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