Bush: Terrorists attacked world and free trade
By Alex Frew McMillan
SHANGHAI, China (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush on Saturday painted the fight against terrorism as a battle between the forces of creation and destruction.
Terrorists did not just attack the United States on September 11, Bush said. By attacking two symbols of global financial markets, they attacked the world and free trade, he said.
"By their actions, they have divorced themselves from the elements that define civilizations themselves," Bush said.
"They cannot be appeased. They must be fought. This is the resolve of our nation."
He got applause from a packed ballroom at Shanghai's Shangri-La hotel when he said America and the rest of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation would push forward with the positive forces of growth, free trade and markets.
He was speaking on the sidelines of APEC at the CEO Summit.
'Open for business'
"We will keep our countries open, and our markets open for business," he said, to loud claps.
But he drew cold stares when he implied that China should not use the anti-terrorism fight as an excuse to persecute minorities.
Bush is seeking to define that fight against terrorism in economic terms.
That is designed to go down well with host China and APEC's members, which include three Muslim countries.
The leaders of APEC's 21 members have gathered here for a summit intended to be economic in nature.
The argument was outlined this week by U.S. delegates such as trade representative Robert Zoellick. It's the new American sales pitch.
The forces of creation and free markets "have brought more prosperity to more people more quickly than at any time in human history," Bush said.
Growth in China
He praised the way that APEC members had opened their arms to them. China's gross domestic product has grown 513 percent since 1975, he noted, while 73 percent of South Koreans now own a computer.
Bush won an endorsement for his anti-terrorism coalition yesterday from both Chinese President Jiang Zemin and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.
Bush said the APEC leaders will, as expected, endorse a statement condemning terrorism on Sunday, as well as calling for a new round of World Trade Organization talks.
The American leader said APEC countries must show the attack on commerce has failed.
He called on them to make sure immigration and customs barriers do not get too restrictive and to trim red tape and standardize technology standards.
Those comments had a ring of irony, as China deploys 100,000 people to staff the conference.
Organizers say delegates need to allow an hour to pass the stringent security searches that involve metal detectors, body frisks and scanners at every venue.
Bush said that the Taliban had been given an ultimatum to choose to side with the "forces for evil" or the positive forces of creation.
"They choose unwisely," he said, aligning themselves with forces of destruction "that kill on a global scale." Countries that make that choice will face stagnation and ignorance, he said.
Bush noted that he shared the rising frustration over attempts to supply food in Afghanistan, which he said have been hindered by the Taliban.
"They starve their people, and that is another reason they must go," a comment that also drew applause.
The president said now was a time for the American people to rally together.
Time to move on
"We won't forget the American stars and stripes fluttering in solidarity from every firetruck," he said. "We won't forget the baseball players and their minutes of silence."
But he said it is time for America and the rest of the world to move on.
Bush has been doing the diplomatic rounds to exact support for his coalition against terrorism.
Earlier in the day, he gave Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi a baseball glove signed by the Baltimore Orioles' Cal Ripken Jr.
He also met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who raised his concern about civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Mahathir, who heads one of APEC's three Muslim members, has criticized the U.S. retaliation to September 11.
Mahathir addressed the same audience a quarter of an hour before Bush. The speech was a marked contrast.
The Malaysian leader gave a stinging indictment of globalization. He noted that developing nations have to fend for themselves to fight off the predatory interests of the world's richest people.
Lowering trade barriers
Malaysia has been one of the laggards in lowering trade barriers. It needs to move ahead with free-trade initiatives, said Vaughn Koshkarian, the Asia Pacific president of Ford Motor Co.
Only by getting in line with free-trade programs will Malaysia and its South East Asian neighbors realize their true potential, Koshkarian said.
Koshkarian said Bush's presence at APEC was important because it showed a commitment to free trade.
"I think it's terrific that he's here," he said. "I think it's terrifically important from a symbolic point of view as much as a practical point of view."
The CEO summit, which is taking place on the sidelines of this week's APEC summit, has drawn leading lights such as Microsoft's Bill Gates, AOL Time Warner's Gerald Levin, Hewlett-Packard's Carly Fiorina and General Motors' John Smith.
The summit also heard from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mexico President Vicente Fox, Australia Prime Minister John Howard and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Bush is to cut short his visit to Shanghai by several hours to get back to Washington.
Instead of leaving Monday morning, Bush will now depart Sunday night following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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