Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bush to push counter-terrorism, trade on S-E Asian trip

The Prez will be here for an 8-day visit to Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam November 14 where he will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum summit.

I hope he doesn't stay in the Orchard Road area!

From The Straits-Times:

"South-east Asia is a region with an active Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist presence that we are working with partners to defeat,' Mr Bush's national security adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters on Thursday.

He said the trip would enable Mr Bush to forge partnerships with the region to tackle the serious challenges of terrorism and transnational health issues, including avian influenza - or 'bird flu', a major problem in South-east Asia.

Some of the suspected terrorist kingpins arrested after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the United States were based in or had links in South-east Asia, which Washington regards as the second front in the 'war on terror'.

Mr Hadley said the rapidly growing region was of 'great importance' to the United States.

But he noted that the region, where the United States is the biggest investor and top export market, was experiencing 'change and uncertainty, in some sense as a result of the changing power dynamics within Asia'.

Mr Bush would also seek to 'reaffirm the centrality of the freedom agenda' and 'continue to encourage efforts in the war on terror', said Mr Hadley.

To underscore religious freedom concerns, Mr Bush will join Vietnamese Christians for prayers in a church in Hanoi when he attends the Apec summit on November 18-19."

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