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      In Focus: President's Trip to Asia
      In Focus: APEC Summit 2005

Dr. Michael Green
Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asian Affairs, National Security Council

November 9, 2005

Dr. Michael Green
Thank you for joining "Ask the White House" today. I will be traveling with the President to Asia. We leave on November 14 and return on November 21 after traveling to Kyoto, Japan; Gyeongju and Busan South Korea; Beijing, China and Ulaan Baator, Mongolia. The President is very excited about the trip and I appreciate the chance to answer your questions.

Ming, from Warwick, RI writes:
What are the major goals to achieve during the visit to China by President Bush?

Dr. Michael Green
Thank you, Ming. The President has a good relationship with President Hu and just met with him in New York on September 13. In his visit to Beijing on November 19-20-21 the President will have opportunities to meet again with President Hu and with Premier Wen and other members of the Chinese government. In those meetings, the President will address issues of importance to American workers, farmers and citizens. These include China's protection of intellectual property rights, China's move to a market-oriented and flexible exchange rate system, and other trade and economic issues. These are areas where more progress by our Chinese colleagues will help to bring balance to our trade relationship and more opportunities to export and invest for the United States. These are also areas that can strengthen the Chinese long-term economic picture and provide new opportunities for Chinese citizens.

In addition to economics, the President will speak to President Hu about how to ensure that North Korea implements the commitments it made in September at the Six Party Talks to the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea and Russia to completely end its nuclear weapons and nuclear programs. China has a key role to play in seeing this agreement to full implementation and completion and progress will not only bring more peace and stability to the Korean peninsula, but also strengthen U.S.-China relations.

The President always cares about human rights and religious freedom and will attend church in Beijing to worship with Chinese of faith. President Hu has articulated a vision of "peaceful development" for China that shows his own concern for economic development and social harmony in that great country. President Bush looks forward to talking to him about that vision and how our own beliefs in empowering individuals and allowing greater room for faith and free speech will help to reinforce the long-term goals President Hu has for his people.

Sandra, from Washington, D.C. writes:
What is President Bush's main purpose in visiting China, Japan and Mongolia?

Dr. Michael Green
I would refer you to the answer I just posted to Ming about the China stop. In Japan the President will visit the beautiful ancient capital of Kyoto to see his friend Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. The United States and Japan have a strong bilateral alliance built on common values and common interests. Prime Minister Koizumi and the people of Japan have made great contributions to international peace and development. Japan is the second largest contributor to the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, in Iraq reconstruction. Japanese self-defense forces are on the ground in Iraq providing clean water and reconstruction. Our two governments have launched the Strategic Development Alliance to make sure we are doing everything we can to coordinate our humanitarian and development aid in key areas of the world like Indonesia and Pakistan. Recently, we also reached an agreement to reduce large numbers of our military forces in Okinawa and to restructure our bases in Japan so that the Japanese people have less of a burden and our forces have better opportunities for training to fulfill their missions. This partnership between the U.S. and Japan will only grow and the President and the Prime Minister want to chart the way ahead.

The President will also give a major speech in Japan on his vision for the future of freedom in Asia and America's commitment to the region.

In Mongolia the President will congratulate the Mongolian people on the progress they have made to become a mature and stable democracy and he will thank them for their role in Iraq. Per capita only two other countries have sent more of their soldiers to help the Iraqi people establish a democratic and stable nation. It is young democracies like Mongolia's that often understand freedom the most, and the President wants to say thank you. He also wants to demonstrate that even remote countries have a strong friend in the United States when they embark on the path of reform and good governance.

Christopher, from San Antonio writes:
Dr. Green, Some asian policy watchers complain that the U.S. doesn't have a coherent policy concerning Asia specificly, India on the U.N. security council, China-India rivialry and, conversing with Asian muslims.

How do you respond?

Dr. Michael Green
Christopher, I would encourage you to listen to the President's speech in Kyoto. I think he will offer the vision that ties together these many complex elements in Asia's emerging power structure. We have a strong and transforming relationship with India, the most productive relationship with China in decades, and the strongest alliance with Japan ever. Given all the uncertainties in the region, it is an important pillar of stability that the United States is strengthening ties with all the major power centers and working for a common sense of purpose in the region. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting will be the centerpiece of the trip and will have a robust agenda for regional cooperation to address issues of concern from avian influenza to energy. The President will also meet with the leaders of Southeast Asia to define a new "Enhanced Partnership." Leadership in our key strategic relationship with ASEAN, with China, our partnership with India and our alliance with Japan -- as well as in defining the agenda for the region in APEC -- are all ingredients of a strategy designed to keep Asia moving towards greater prosperity, stability and opportunities for its peoples.

John, from Texas writes:
Years ago it was discovered that the scenic view in Big Bend National Park in Texas was being obscured because of the air pollution coming out of China. Now the Chinese pollution is getting much worse as China is taking over many of our manufacturing industries and their economy is heating up. It's even making air quality in Caifornia worse. How can we compete fairly in free-trade with China if they don't play by the same rules (environment, workers' rights, fair wages, copyrights)?

Dr. Michael Green
John, This is an important issue and one of the elements of our strategy to help China with clean development is our "Clean Development Partnership." We will hold the first ministerial in Australia in January with Japan, Australia, India, South Korea and China.

Jon, from Midland, Michigan writes:
Dr. Green - what is the most challenging issue in our relationship with Japan?

Dr. Michael Green
Jon, The U.S.-Japan alliance has come a long way in the sixty years since the end of the Second World War. Today U.S. and Japanese forces are working together to patrol sealanes around Japan, to help reconstruct and bring democracy to Iraq and to enhance stability in the Pacific. We are leaders in development, in the G-8, in the international effort against HIV-AIDS and a score of other important endeavors. This partnership is based on common interests and common values. And it helps that President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are good friends themselves.

Japan has undergone a major reorientation in their economy under Prime Minister Koizumi, but there are still areas that lag. We have had difficulty regaining access to the Japanese beef market since the BSE problem emerged. The Japanese Food Safety Commission has said U.S. and Japanese beef are equally safe and we hope the Japanese government will open the market soon based on those findings. We would frankly like to see Japan do more to lead in the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization, but Japan is still trying to sort out its own domestic agricultural situation.

In short, Japan is leading with the United States, but there are some sectors where we would welcome even more Japanese leadership.

George, from Orlando, FL writes:
Dr. Green,How did you become so interested in Asian Affairs? Are you of Asian decent?

Best of luck on the bagpipes


Dr. Michael Green
George, To tell the truth, I have been playing bagpipes since I was 11 and after college I was hoping to live in Scotland and study piobreachd-- the ancient music of the highland bagpipe. Somehow I took a wrong turn and ended up in Japan teaching English in a rural high school. After that I was stuck. I still play bagpipes (in my one free hour a week) but I have spent the past few decades getting a PhD in Asian Studies, working for the Pentagon and Trade Representative, teaching at Johns Hopkins, and -- since 2001 -- working on the National Security Council Staff for the President. This is a wonderful place to work with an incredible concentration of expertise and commitment. The only problem is that you can't play bagpipes in the White House. At least I haven't been able to so far....

Christopher, from San Antonio writes:
Dr. Green, Thanks for your service to the president. With the avian flu as a potential problem for Asia, will the U.S. still enquire as to why Tiawan is not a member of the World Health Orginization?

Dr. Michael Green
Christopher- Taiwan is a good friend and we are working to make sure that Taiwan's considerable expertise is applied to the avian influenza challenge and that the people on Taiwan have an opportunity to tap into to the international community's efforts.

Meanwhile, the United States has supported Taiwan's entrance into the WHO and we will continue to do so.

Brian, from Wisconsin writes:
Hey, Is it fun to be on "ask the white house" and to get so much posts?

Sincerely, Brian

Dr. Michael Green far.

Shiro, from Hiroshima,Japan writes:
Is President Bush coming to Japan?If yes,will he visit how many cities? And what are the issues they are going to discuss?

Thank you and I'd like to say that we appreciate his hard work to spread freedom and democracy all over the world.

Dr. Michael Green
Shiro, Arigato gozaimasu. Konkai wa Kyoto ni ikimasu. Zannen nagara, Hiroshima toka Tokyo wa konkai no nittei ni haete imasen ga, Kyto wa kono kisetsu de ichiban utsukushii da so desu. Totemo tanoshimi shite-imasu.

(Thank you very much. This time the President is going to Kyoto. Unfortunately, Hiroshima and Tokyo are not on the itinerary, but we understand that this is the most beautiful season in Kyoto. we are really looking forward to it)

Carla, from South Bend, Indiana writes:
Other than official meetings with the foreign leaders of the countries the President is traveling to, are the President and Mrs. Bush going to be able to enjoy any of the beautiful scenery? I know they often go to cultural events and hope they will to as well. They are all beautiful countries.

thank you, an avid traveler

Dr. Michael Green

Yes. The President and First Lady will tour the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto with Prime Minister Koizumi. In Gyeongju they will visit a stunning Korean Buddhist temple. In China the President will have opportunities to talk with Chinese about the Olympic Games in 2008. In Mongolia the President and First Lady will visit a traditional Ger (felt tent) village to see Mongolian traditional throat singing, horse-head fiddle playing and other cultural events.

Anthony, from Lima Ohio writes:
I belive it will be in are best interest to make bold moves to bridge the gap between the asian people and the people of are beloved United States.America needs to have more of a friendship with China,and Japan and become more understanding .

Dr. Michael Green
Anthony, We agree. These trips help to do that.

lucy, from brownsville writes:
Why didn't george Bush helpsupported that much on the devastations of asia?Does He even care?

Dr. Michael Green

The President and the First Lady were shocked at the devastation caused by the tsunami in December of last year. Like many White House, Pentagon and State Department staff, I cancelled my vacation and spent most of the holidays in the office. Working with our counterparts in India, Japan and Australia we quickly mobilized the "Regional Core Group" to get our ships and planes to places like Aceh, Indonesia where they provided much needed relief. We sent a flotilla of 14 ships within days and saved many lives. For the reconstruction phase, the President enlisted his father ("41") and former President Bill Clinton to raise private funds -- those now total well over $1 billion. The USG has itself already spent close to that amount. It was a demonstration of the American peoples compassion, our government's ability to mobilize international support, and the possibilities for Asian nations to pull together for one important common cause.

The more recent earthquake in Pakistan was no less tragic. Just today the President hosted a group of American CEOs to help raise private funds to help with reconstruction. The US Government has pledged over 150 million dollars to get the effort started and our military is once again bringing relief supplies and hope to the people of that region. We are providing 75% of the lift capacity to valleys that have been cut-off and desperately need help. As with the tsunami, we hope that international efforts to bring relief to this region will pave the way for governments there to redouble their efforts to find solutions to the diplomatic and political problems that have obstructed lasting peace and development.

SeongHo, from Seoul, Korea writes:
What would the U.S. want from South Korea to further strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance?

Dr. Michael Green
Seong-ho We are proud of the efforts our Korean allies are making on the peninsula and around the world. President Roh and President Bush have agreed to restructure the U.S. military presence in the Republic of Korea (ROK) to reduce the burden on the Korean people and increase our effectiveness, readiness and mobility. Today ROK forces are the third largest contingent in Iraq. The U.S.-ROK alliance has kept the peace on the peninsula for five decades.

We need to continually update and modernize our alliance in the face of new threats. That is why we had a bilateral agreement on restructuring US forces on the peninsula, for example. We also have an intense and productive diplomatic partnership in the Six Party Talks where our close cooperation has brought us to a key agreement in September on the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear programs and a new path for peace and stability on the peninsula.

For my part, I enjoy constant and open communication with my counterparts on the ROK National Security Council Staff. We have an excellent working relationship and wake each other up at all hours of the night to work on issues.

Daniel, from Lakeville, CT writes:
Hi, I am a 15 year old interested in international affairs. What does the President hope to accomplish at the APEC summit?Thank you.

Dr. Michael Green
Daniel, I hear you are a frequent guest in Ask the White House. Good for you and I look forward to the day when you become Secretary of State. You are on the right track!

Joanna, from Chicago, IL writes:
Dr. Green, Why is a free and open trade that important for our economy?

Thank you

Dr. Michael Green
Joanna, If you work on a cattle ranch, then you will care alot that we export over $1 billion to Japan's beef market. And that's why the President has been urging his friend Prime Minister Koizumi to reopen the Japanese beef market.

If you work at Boeing making the new Dreamliner (or anywhere in Seattle for that matter), you will be very happy that China just agreed to buy 60 of them.

If you are an entrepreneur in the Silicon Valley working on a new software program to increase the efficiency of the internet, you will want to be sure that President Hu follows through on his commitment to the President in New York to increase enforcement against Chinese firms that pirate U.S. software.

And since you are from Chicago, you should be glad that Caterpillar has added 5,500 jobs in the last year because of increasing sales to China of heavy equipment.

So free trade really matters to the American economy and the American people. Trade is always part of the President's agenda with all his counterparts and it helps that we have such strong relationships in the region. It also helps the region move beyond the historic animosities and rivalries that have led to so many wars in Asia in the past -- much better that all the countries in APEC are focused on growing prosperous together.

Dr. Michael Green
Thank you for joining me today on "Ask the White House." I am delighted that there is so much interest in the President's trip to Asia. The scenery in Japan, Korea, China and Mongolia should be breathtaking and the discussions the President has with his counterparts will help to strengthen our relations in a region of vital importance to the United States. I'll be the guy carrying the attache case four paces behind the President (no, they won't be bagpipes).

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