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President Bush Arrives in Shanghai for Annual APEC Summit

Aired October 18, 2001 - 06:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well we're going to go to Kelly Wallace at the White House now where she's monitoring the APEC summit and as we know President Bush, we just told you, just arrived in Shanghai just seconds ago, hasn't even left the aircraft yet.

Good morning Kelly.


Well you know this president is often early and in fact, he arrived in Shanghai, China just a few minutes early. He is going to be here in China just for about three days. There'll be a brief arrival ceremony, I believe, here in Shanghai. No remarks planned by the president, and then he will go, because it is obviously 6:00 p.m. in Shanghai. He will go get some rest after this long flight, and then begin his meeting first thing in the morning - Friday morning in Shanghai.

As we watch these pictures of Air Force One, Kyra, you know there was a lot of discussion within the Bush administration about whether it was appropriate for President Bush to make this trip, to go overseas at a time when there's a military campaign against Afghanistan underway and when there are mounting concerns about anthrax in the United States.

In fact, before he even left, the president did an interview with Asian editors, in which he said he is leaving the country at a - quote - "difficult time", but he said he felt it was important for him to go, not only to focus on the global economy, but also to do what he can to strengten the international coalition against terrorism and before the president arriving here in Shanghai, he made a brief visit to Sacramento, California on Wednesday. It gave him an opportunity to give a pep talk to members of the armed forces and their families, and also to go over the progress in this campaign against terrorism.

The president making it clear he's going to stick with this, and he says the U.S. will win this war no matter how long it takes.

Again, Kyra, as we watch these live pictures, the president will have about three days of meetings in Shanghai. This will be an opportunity for the president to have face to face meetings with leaders of eight different countries including President Putin of Russia, as well as his first face to face meeting with Chinese President (INAUDIBLE). That will happen on Friday. He'll also meet with the leaders of South Korea and Japan and Malaysia and then Kyra, as part of this 21-nation Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, they obviously will be focusing on the global economy and world trade. But a big discussion will be about terrorism and according to a draft of the communica (ph) that is about to be released at the end of this summit meeting, we understand that the leaders are expected to condemn the September 11th attack, condemning them as really a threat to the security and peace of all people, of all faiths, and also basically pledging more international cooperation to combat money laundering and do other things in terms of the financial fight against terrorists.


PHILLIPS: Kelly, you talked about how the president is going to use this APEC meeting to strengthen the international coalition to fight terrorism, but there are a few - a couple of leaders in there that have - are sort of against this coalition.

Isn't that correct? Like, for example, the leader of Indonesia and a few others. He is receiving some criticism - correct?

WALLACE: You raise a very good point. It's a little bit of a delicate balancing act. President Mega Wadi (ph) of Indonesia definitely has pledged cooperation in this international coalition against terrorism. At the same time, in a speech, I believe, over the weekend, making it clear that the best way to deal with bloodshed is not more bloodshed. So sort of coming out in some way criticizing the military strikes against Afghanistan.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation. So clearly there's a domestic audience for President Mega Wadi (ph) to deal with obviously concerns around the world on the part of Muslims and Arab that this could be a campaign against Muslims, a campaign against Islam.

So a big message you've heard the president Kyra and you'll hear him do it again during this summit, is this is not a campaign against any one religion, against the people of Afghanistan, but a campaign against terrorism. Also you raise a good point because countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines - countries that are believed to have some problems of terrorism of their own and possibly some operatives in those countries belonging to bin Laden's al Qaeda network.

So the administration definitely going to be putting pressure on those leaders to do what they can to try to root out terrorism in their country, whether it be the financial part, the intelligence part, whether it - you know, in some way with military means, whatever it takes, again, to crack down on terrorism.


PHILLIPS: In addition to the topic of terrorism, you mentioned that the president is using this is an opportunity to come and personally meet Jina Men (ph) and also talk about trade relations. What about one China policy, Kelly, do you think this will be addressed and talked about?

WALLACE: Definitely and of course, this will be the first meeting between the president and the Chinese president on Friday.

I should mention this trip was dramatically scaled back because of the situation in Afghanistan and of concerns in the United States. The president was suppose to go to Beijing for an actual formal state visit - that canceled. And so yes, definitely an opportunity, the president even in an interview reiterating his belief in a one China policy - just watching as we see some dignitaries coming down the stairs - believing that China must resolve its problems with Taiwan in a peaceful way.

That's the only way to resolve these, is to dialogue, but that the administration continues to believe in the decade's old (ph) policy, that there is one China and that Taiwan is a part of it. But again, a big focus likely to be in those meetings on Friday.

And Kyra, I should mention to you, you know, security. Let's watch as U.S. President George W. Bush walking down the stairs of Air Force One, as he arrives here in Shanghai.

Kyra, it's a very, very important time, obviously, for this president. Each day continues to be important in this young presidency. But this, really, another opportunity for the president to be on the world stage and at a very crucial time as he is trying to continue to develop and build and strengthen this international coalition against terrorism.

Kyra, many people believe that this was going to be a very important trip for the president to sort of show what he could do on the world stage, to go out and really make a name for himself and show what he could do. But obviously, the president over these past several weeks, since September 11th has had many face to face meetings and telephone conversations with world leaders.

So in some ways, many people here at the White House believe the world now has seen what President Bush can do, especially in a crisis.


PHILLIPS: Well Kelly, this is quite a statement too, as Americans fear flying right now and flying overseas and the issue, of course, the president's safety. That was brought up. This is quite a statement that he's making this trip and not expressing any worries.

WALLACE: Another good point because that was also part of the reason why the president and his aides felt it important that he continue to pursue and go on this previously schedule trip. You've heard the president encourage Americans to get on with their lives and get back to business as usual - to go and fly on planes, to go shopping.

And so here is an important statement for the president, that he is keeping, in some ways, to some normal business - going on a previously scheduled trip and that it's important for Americans to do the same. Security, though, Kyra, as you can well imagine is extraordinary and very, very tight - lots and lots of precautions, which the White House and the Secret Service won't discuss.

One, though, we can mention very, very interesting - U.S. officials telling CNN that the Chinese gave the United States Air Force to authority to enter Chinese air space to escort Air Force One into Chinese air space. So that's very extraordinary in and of itself.

Again, extra protection for the U.S. president, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: (INAUDIBLE) one more side note that I can ask you about before he gets in the car and leaves Kelly. The president came out just recently making some critical comments about the north Korean leader Kim John Ill (ph) and talking about his relationship with Korea - south Korea's leader and U.S. relations.

Could this be a topic of discussion - an additional topic?

WALLACE: It certainly could because during these meetings, one of the opportunities will be a face to face meeting with the leader of south Korea. North Korea likely to be a big topic of discussion. The president talking about that very issue in his interview with Asian editors, which was done on Tuesday.

He said two things. One, he said, north Korea should in no way try to take advantage of the situation and take advantage of the United States and the world maybe distraction with this campaign against Afghanistan, and think that north Korea could take some moves against south Korea or any other way. So that was one message.

Number two, the president making it very clear that he doesn't quite understand why the north Korean leader doesn't want to sort of engage with the United States, that the U.S. has made it clear it is willing and ready to talk and engage and that the north Korean leader continues to sort of act in a very suspicious way.

So some strong words from the president, but also basically a message that north Korea should not in any way think the world is distracted and therefore, that the north Korean country should take advantage of that in any way.


PHILLIPS: Kelly Wallace, thanks so much. We'll continue checking with you and follow the president as he attends the APEC meeting, and follow his moves to strengthen this international coalition to fight terrorism.

Kelly Wallace, thank you so much.




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