- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 18, 2001

SHANGHAI With concern rising that the bombing of Afghanistan could unleash global instability, Pacific Rim officials meeting here yesterday worked on a finely balanced statement that would condemn the attacks on America without backing the U.S.-led military retaliation.
At the end of a weekend summit that will bring President Bush and other leaders to Shanghai, heads of the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum are expected to issue a statement against terrorism and the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
But it is unlikely to mention Osama bin Laden or the American and British military campaign to root out his al Qaeda network and punish the Taliban for sheltering him in Afghanistan, say some ministers and a new draft of the proclamation.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff said the focus "is on the medium- and long-term, rather than on the short-term, military action against al Qaeda and the Taliban regime that hosts it in Afghanistan."
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was to make Washington's case in person to the other APEC foreign ministers today, but trying to sell all of them on the U.S. battle plan would be a difficult task.
Top officials from two mostly Muslim APEC nations Indonesia and Malaysia criticized the U.S.-led air strikes yesterday, one saying the military action would not stop terrorism and the other warning it could cause a major global rift.
"You sort of wipe off one generation of terrorist, a new generation emerges," Malaysian Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz said. "Anybody can become a terrorist if they have enough reason to become suicidal and pursue their aims."
In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, Security Minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said "if this conflict widens, then many countries will be destabilized."
APEC's draft statement on terrorism, pushed by Washington, steers clear of specifics while warning of "a profound threat to the peace, prosperity and security of all people of all faiths, of all nations."
In addition to recognizing the concerns of Muslim nations, APEC leaders are being careful to avoid irritating their Chinese hosts, who would prefer to stick to APEC's official business economic development and showcase the glittery financial hub of Shanghai.
APEC members are reiterating their goal of breaking down barriers to trade in the region and are expected to call for a new round of World Trade Organization talks.
The effort to stop terrorism might help energize plans for WTO talks, which could be initiated at a meeting scheduled for next month in Doha, Qatar the rule-making global trade group's first such effort since its embarrassing failure two years ago in Seattle.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick said he found strong support on both fronts: terrorism and trade.
"This is a time when we in the United States are trying to build coalitions of support for a war and a sustained effort against terrorism," Mr. Zoellick said last night. "We also have to be attentive to the economic challenges faced by countries around the globe, and a move to launch a new global trade round would be a very good signal."
APEC's members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

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