Bush’s warm words about Taiwan could chill his reception later this week in Beijing, where the president, to make a point about religious freedom, also plans to worship at one of five officially recognized Protestant churches in the city. Bush said Chinese President Hu Jintao has asserted that his vision of “peaceful development” will make the Chinese people more prosperous. “I have pointed out that the people of China want more freedom to express themselves, … to worship without state control, … and to print Bibles and other sacred texts without state control,” Bush said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! KYOTO, Japan – President George W. Bush prodded China today to grant more political freedom to its 1.3 billion people, and he held up archrival Taiwan as a society that successfully moved from repression to democracy as it opened its economy. In remarks sure to rile Beijing, Bush suggested that China should follow Taiwan’s path. “Modern Taiwan is free and democratic and prosperous. By embracing freedom at all levels, Taiwan has delivered prosperity to its people and created a free and democratic Chinese society,” the president said. Bush made his remarks in the advance text of a speech that was to be the cornerstone address of his Asian trip. From Japan, he will continue to South Korea, China and Mongolia. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week At a state guest house, Bush met with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, an unflinching ally despite the president’s record-low popularity and mounting problems at home. The president called Koizumi his “buddy.” Bush wants Japan to play a stronger role in Asian security issues, perhaps as a counterbalance to China’s growing strength, vast army and designs on U.S. ally Taiwan. Koizumi supported the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and made an unpopular decision to send noncombat troops there in January 2004. That mission expires next month and Bush has indicated he wouldn’t press his friend for a decision on whether to extend it. In his prepared speech, Bush said China’s economic growth must be accompanied by more freedoms for its people. “As China reforms its economy,” the president said, “its leaders are finding that once the door to freedom is opened even a crack, it cannot be closed. As the people of China grow in prosperity, their demands for political freedom will grow as well.” Bush also lectured China about opening its economy to foreign competition to narrow the expected $200 billion trade surplus with the United States. “China needs to provide a level playing field for American businesses seeking access to China’s market,” Bush said. Further, he said, China must fulfill its promise to move toward a more market-based currency.