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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 10, 2001

Joint Statement Between the United States of America and Australia

     President George W. Bush and Prime Minister John Howard today reaffirmed the strength and vitality of the bilateral relationship between Australia and the United States, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the alliance between the two countries. The President and the Prime Minister expressed the conviction that the alliance has been a pillar of stability in the Asia-Pacific region and has made an essential contribution to global peace and security over the past half century. The Prime Minister welcomed the clear commitments expressed by the President to continued active U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. They agreed the U.S. presence in the region helped contribute to the stability that was essential to ensure economic growth and greater prosperity for all countries in the Asia Pacific.

     President Bush and Prime Minister Howard discussed a broad range of regional and global security issues.  Both underscored the importance of Indonesia's successful democratic transition and expressed support for Indonesia's territorial integrity.  Noting the positive steps President Megawati and her team have taken to promote policy reform and national unity, President Bush and Prime Minister Howard reaffirmed their support for the new government's efforts to build a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Indonesia.  The two leaders welcomed the peaceful election in East Timor and emphasized the importance of continued international support and assistance, including through the United Nations, to ensure a successful transition to a stable, viable and independent state.

     The President and the Prime Minister agreed that the economic transformation underway in China will have a major impact on the region and the world.  The President and the Prime Minister welcomed the prospect of China's accession to the WTO and affirmed their desire to see China take up a constructive role as a full member of the international community.  In this context, they reaffirmed the importance of China's observance of its non-proliferation undertakings and underlined their close interest in China's respect for human rights.  The President and the Prime Minister agreed that Japan makes an important contribution to regional stability, emphasized the importance of Prime Minister Koizumi's reform initiatives, and expressed optimism that continued reform will produce significant benefits over time for the people of Japan and for the global economy.  On the Korean Peninsula, President Bush and Prime Minister Howard reiterated their strong support for renewed North-South engagement.  The Prime Minister welcomed the United States' offer of dialogue to North Korea following the Administration's policy review and encouraged North Korea to respond positively.  The two leaders welcomed the growing opportunities for political, commercial and security cooperation with India.

     President Bush and Prime Minister Howard expressed shared concern about the threat to global stability posed by ballistic missile proliferation and weapons of mass destruction and increasingly capable ballistic missiles as a means of delivery.  They agreed on the need for a comprehensive approach to counter these threats, including enhanced non-proliferation and counter- proliferation measures as well as continued nuclear arms reductions.  They also agreed that missile defense could play a role in strengthening deterrence and stability as part of this comprehensive approach.  The Prime Minister looked forward to further consultation with the United States on these issues and  welcomed the Administration's active dialogue on the issue with allies as well as Russia and China.

     The President and the Prime Minister resolved to work together closely to expand trade globally, regionally and bilaterally.  They agreed that launching a new global trade round in Doha is a top trade priority for both nations.  They emphasized that agriculture must be a core element of the next trade round in order to level the playing field.  They confirmed their commitment to achieve open markets in the Asia-Pacific region, including using APEC's full potential more effectively.  The President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed their commitment to enhance their already close economic relationship, including the possibility of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).  They discussed the contribution an FTA could make to their shared global and regional trade objectives.  They noted the strong trade and investment flows between the United States and Australia and the spur an agreement could give to further growth.  They asked their trade ministers to report back to them before the end of the year on how to advance the proposal.  The President noted the importance of consulting with Congress and other interested parties in deciding the Administration's position on the FTA.

     President Bush and Prime Minister Howard agreed that climate change poses a serious long-term challenge.  The President and the Prime Minister recognized that climate change is a global issue requiring a global approach and expressed their commitment to develop an effective and science-based response.

     The President and the Prime Minister greatly enjoyed their discussions, which were characterized by unusual warmth and candor.  They believe the meeting strengthened their personal partnership and the partnership between their two nations.  The goodwill generated today will be valuable in moving forward on their common agendas.

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