- The Washington Times - Friday, October 19, 2001

SHANGHAI President Bush met with Chinese President Jiang Zemin today, hoping to get more help from China and other Asian nations in the U.S.-led war on terrorism.
Mr. Bush arrived in China last night amid extraordinary security for a summit of members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation that quickly became embroiled in controversy over Taiwan.
The American and Chinese presidents exchanged warm greetings in their first-ever meeting this morning.
"You are president of a great nation," Mr. Bush told Mr. Jiang. "It's important for us to get to know each other."
The American president complimented Mr. Jiang on the beauty of Shanghai, which prompted the Chinese leader to remind Mr. Bush that he had visited Beijing in 1975 and told him China's capital also had made progress.
"Of course, you may reserve your judgment until you see it with your own eyes," Mr. Jiang said.
With bilateral meetings also planned with the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Brunei, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia the latter two of which have large Muslim populations Mr. Bush will seek to convince them that the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11 could happen in their countries.
"Of course, we'll talk about economics and trade," the president said at an Air Force base near Sacramento on Wednesday before his first trip as president to the communist country.
"But the main thing that will be on my mind is to continue to rally the world against terrorists; is to remind people that it happened to us, sure, but it could happen to them, as well; is to remind them that evil knows no borders, no boundaries, and to remind them that we must take a stand; that those of us who have been given the responsibility of high office must not shirk from our duty; that now is the time to claim freedom for future generations."
The summit opened with discord today as Taiwan announced it would boycott the meeting because China failed to send the island an invitation.
"After days of consultation, the mainland failed to show good will even though our delegation had booked a flight," Foreign Minister Tien Hung-mao told a news conference in Taipei. "I solemnly announce that we will not attend this year's informal meeting of APEC leaders."
Mr. Tien lodged a protest over Beijing's failure to send an invitation for former Vice President Li Yuan-zu to attend the summit.
Beijing, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has sought to push it into diplomatic isolation, rejected Mr. Li, saying the island should abide by previous APEC protocol and send a minister with an economic portfolio.
On terrorism, some Asian nations, most notably Malaysia and Indonesia, have softened their rhetoric after hard-line Islamic groups protested in their capitals. President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, has backpedaled from earlier statements of support for the U.S.-led war against terrorism.
In a speech this week at a Muslim ceremony, Mrs. Megawati warned that military attacks by one country against another even in the name of eradicating terrorism were "unacceptable."
Malaysia, whose Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed will meet with Mr. Bush tomorrow, also has hedged on its earlier tough anti-terrorism stance.
"We have no problems with anything that's being said, because Malaysia condemns any form of terrorism," Malaysian Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz told reporters. "All we say is that we must begin to understand and get together to begin to understand the root cause of the problem, and also to caution about whatever retaliation that's being undertaken so that it doesn't harm innocent people."
In a nod to Indonesian and Malaysian concerns, an anti-terrorism declaration proposed by the United States and being prepared for the leaders of the APEC summit makes no mention of the U.S.-led strikes against Afghanistan or Osama bin Laden, whom Washington accuses of masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks.
But the declaration, in a draft obtained by Reuters news agency, condemns the attacks and calls for action to counter terrorism. It would be the first major political declaration in APEC's 12-year history.
Specific measures in the draft included improving cooperation on air security and energy security such as oil stockpiling, electronic tracking of travelers and "appropriate financial measures to stop the flow of funds to terrorists."
Like other Asian nations, China also has softened its staunch rhetoric of support. Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told journalists yesterday that APEC ministers had agreed the fight against terrorism was long term and should involve the United Nations a reference to Chinese concerns that the United States was acting unilaterally.
"Anti-terrorism is the struggle between evil versus good, the civilized and barbaric," Mr. Tang quoted the ministers as agreeing. "It is not the struggle between different nations, civilizations and religions."
Mr. Bush arrived yesterday on Air Force One, which was escorted by U.S. fighter planes. He was met at Shanghai's new Pudong airport by U.S. Ambassador to China Clark Randt and Chinese officials.
Mr. Bush climbed into a black limousine and was swept away through half-deserted streets in a 35-vehicle motorcade that included an ambulance. The broad avenues of China's glittering financial capital once known as the "Paris of the East" were mostly clear of cars and pedestrians, and armed troops in camouflage guarded roads into the city as Air Force One landed.
Some 10,000 police have been deployed in Shanghai and bomb-sniffing dogs have been patrolling for explosives. State television said China had stepped up checks for anthrax in mail-sorting rooms and at border crossings.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide