United States is fully committed to Asia
SINGAPORE : President George Bush said the United States is fully committed to Asia.
Speaking in Singapore on Thursday, he said the US will work to advance trade, tackle the terrorist threat and alleviate poverty in the region.
The US President also stressed the Asia-Pacific countries' role in reviving the Doha Round of Talks, saying this would be the key to meeting world economic growth goals.
And he said an Asia-Pacific Free Trade Agreement deserves serious consideration.
The US is firmly committed to its ties with Asia in the areas of trade, security and humanitarian partnerships.
President Bush reaffirmed his country's involvement in what he called the fastest growing and most dynamic region in the world.
Besides the WTO Doha Talks, he sees the expansion of free and fair trade, especially through a stronger APEC, as the way to global peace and prosperity.
Mr Bush said: "We hear voices calling for us to retreat from the world and close our doors to its opportunities. These are the old temptations of isolationism and protectionism, and America must reject them. We must maintain our presence in the Pacific. We must seize on our common opportunities. We must be willing to confront common threats, and we must help our partners build more hopeful societies throughout this vital part of the world. Building more hopeful societies starts with opening up to opportunities of a global trading system."
But one major threat to peace is global terrorism and President Bush said he hoped to work closely with countries in the region to confront this.
President Bush said: "The greatest danger in our world today is that these terrorists could get hands on weapons of mass destruction and use them to blackmail free nations or to kill on unimaginable scale. This threat poses a risk to our entire civilisation and all our nations must work together to defeat it. In this region, the most immediate comes from North Korea. America's position is clear: the transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States and we would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of such actions."
While hopeful that North Korea has agreed to return to the six-party talks, Mr Bush cautioned that proliferation from North Korea would not be tolerated by the US.
In the rest of the region, the President stressed the bilateral security relationships his country has with individual countries, saying they would be enhanced.
He also emphasised the importance of harnessing new energy technologies in Asia to ensure an affordable, reliable supply of energy to fuel its growth.
On the humanitarian front, Mr Bush said US aid would go beyond its efforts for disasters like the Asian Tsunami.
It was also committed to giving financial help to governments in the region who work against corruption, invest in their people and enforce the rule of law.
And the US would give its full cooperation for alleviating poverty and preparing for pandemics like the avian flu