- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 8, 2003

President Bush next week will depart on an eight-day trip to Asia and Australia, with stops in Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. On his way home, he will stop in Hawaii to tour Pearl Harbor.

The president is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, address a joint session of the Philippine Congress, attend the annual summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Bangkok, meet in Singapore with the nation’s president and prime minister, stop briefly in an undisclosed site — possibly Bali — and deliver a speech to Australia’s Parliament.

“He looks forward to his discussions with these leaders on important bilateral, regional and global issues,” White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said in a statement.

During his travels, Mr. Bush will praise U.S. allies in the war on terror and seek further help for Iraq’s reconstruction, according to White House sources.

While in Tokyo, the president will discuss with Mr. Koizumi, a staunch U.S. ally, the U.S.-led coalition’s continuing efforts in Iraq. The two also are expected to discuss how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program.

Mr. Bush will then stop for just eight hours in the Philippines, in part to express his appreciation to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for her help in combating international terrorism.

The same day, Mr. Bush will head to Thailand, where he will attend the APEC summit. He is expected to urge foreign leaders to participate in the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq, an effort he began in earnest at the United Nations last month.

From there, Mr. Bush will travel to Singapore to meet with President S.R. Nathan and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, then go on to a four-hour stopover at an undisclosed site in Indonesia, reportedly the resort island of Bali, where a terrorist attack last October killed 202 persons.

Mr. Bush will then travel to Canberra, Australia, where he will meet with Prime Minister John Howard, another U.S. ally in the war in Iraq. The president will address a joint session of Parliament the next day.

An Australian radio station on Friday quoted White House media briefing notes as saying Mr. Bush’s address will focus on “Australia’s friendship with the U.S. and on their role in the Asia-Pacific in combating terrorism,” according to an Agence France-Presse report.

At the end of his trip, Mr. Bush will fly overnight from Australia to Hawaii, one of six U.S. states he has not yet visited during his presidency. (The others are Idaho, Rhode Island, Nevada, Vermont and Kansas.)

The White House has kept the trip a secret until now, although international newspapers began to report on the planned presidential stops last month.

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