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BEIJING (AP) _ President Bush, saying China, too, is threatened by terrorism, encouraged Chinese President Jiang Zemin to oppose the spread of missiles and other deadly weapons and become ``a force for peace among its neighbors'' in Asia.

Both leaders emerged from their talks stressing that while they continue to disagree on certain issues, they are confident their cooperation in fighting terrorism since Sept. 11 will lead to warmer relations overall.

``It is natural for China and the United States to disagree on some issues,'' Jiang said. ``As long as the two sides act in a spirit of mutual respect, equality and seeking common ground, ... we will be able to gradually narrow our differences.''

Bush and Jiang spoke after sharing lunch at a horseshoe-shaped cherrywood table in a Cabinet room in China's Great Hall. Bush said they discussed energy policy, cooperating on fighting the spread of AIDS and Bush's plans to develop a missile defense system.

Bush said he raised the missile defense issue, an idea China opposes, ``in the broad context of protecting ourselves, and our friends and allies, against a launch by a threatening nation.'' He did not mention any such nation by name, and did not respond to a question on whether his missile shield would protect Taiwan, one of China's main reservations.