Bush tells Asian leaders, critics to fight terrorism

SHANGHAI, China - President Bush challenged Asian leaders Saturday to help "save the civilized world" by joining his war against terrorism. But in a sign of unease, Russia sided with China and other nations seeking a quick end to U.S. attacks on Afghanistan.

Bush was to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday morning after the conclusion of an Asian-Pacific summit that brought 20 leaders to this port city. Like his counterparts, Bush wore a traditional silk Chinese jacket to Sunday's first session; Bush's jacket was deep blue with gold trim.

In a speech to international business leaders, the president warned Asian leaders that terrorists "cannot be ignored, cannot be appeased."

Bush hopes to build a "great coalition against terror" with nations sharing intelligence, cutting off financing to terrorists and supporting U.S. military action - even if their troops do not fight alongside Americans.

"Every nation must oppose this enemy or be, in turn, its target," Bush said. "There is no isolation from evil."

The traditional goal of the two-day summit, strengthening the world economy, gave way to talks about the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Tying the two themes together, Bush warned that terrorism threatens Asia's hard-won economic vitality.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin, the summit's host, told the leaders Sunday that the attacks on Washington and New York had undermined the global economy.

"The stock markets, oil markets, insurance and tourism are hit the hardest. All this has made an already grave economic situation worse," he said as Bush looked on.

The APEC leaders were expected to approve a statement later Sunday that condemns terrorism, but pointedly does not mention the Afghanistan bombings. The omission reflects concerns of Malaysia and Indonesia, both Muslim-dominated countries who object to the U.S.-led aerial bombardments that began Oct. 7.

Bush tried to ease Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's opposition.


"He is concerned about the death of innocent people in Afghanistan, and I assured him I am, too," Bush said after their closed-door meeting.

Hours earlier, U.S. special forces raided southern Afghanistan and two soldiers were killed in Pakistan while supporting the mission.

The president said he told Mahathir that the United States had been "as careful as we possibly could" to avoid killing civilians. A senior Bush administration official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said Bush told the prime minister he was very sorry that civilians had been hurt. The official praised Malaysia for sharing intelligence.

Mahathir was unswayed. "I explained to (Bush) the anger and frustration of the Muslim world," he said. U.S. officials believe the al-Qaida group of Osama bin Laden, the top suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, has ties to Malaysia.

Putin, meanwhile, met with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and the leaders urged a quick end to the fighting, said Russian spokesman Alexei Gromov. Russia, otherwise supportive of Bush's anti-terrorism efforts, opposes Bush's missile defense proposal.

Momentum on the missile shield negotiations, stalemated for months, picked up after Putin's announcement that he was opening Russian air space to U.S. pilots and would not object to American forces being stationed in former Soviet states near Afghanistan.

White House officials said a deal is likely, but not before the two presidents meet at Bush's Texas ranch next month.

Aides said part of the problem is the action in Afghanistan. The attacks have tied up military advisers whose expertise is needed in the nuclear arms reductions talks that are linked to missile shield discussions.

"I wouldn't expect any startling news" out of Sunday's meeting, Bush said.

Bush's willingness to meet with leaders seeking a go-slow approach on Afghanistan underscores his desire to gain whatever cooperation he can from any country.

The administration has reached out to Iran, Syria, Libya - all accused of harboring terrorists - in hopes that they will help track down terrorists.

The United States softened its stance on anti-Russian rebels in Chechnya just as Moscow offered assistance; lifted sanctions on Pakistan for its help with the Afghanistan campaign; and considered easing sanctions on China, which is providing intelligence.

"I fully understand that some countries will participate with military forces, and others won't feel comfortable doing that," Bush said.

"Some countries will be very good about sharing intelligence; other countries may not be so good. Some countries will be much more efficient about cutting off money; other countries may be a little lax about cutting off money."

Still, he warned the world not to bow to terrorists.

"This conflict is a fight to save the civilized world," he said after his meeting with Koizumi.

The prime minister gave Bush a bow and arrow in a handpainted long wooden box. Written in calligraphy by the prime minister himself was a message in Japanese: "To defeat evil and bring peace on earth."

Bush gave Koizumi a baseball glove signed by baseball great Cal Ripken Jr.


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