The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 20, 2001

Background Briefing
By a Senior Administration Official
on the President's Afternoon Bilateral Meetings
Portman Ritz-Carlton
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

7:30 P.M. (Local)

     MR. MCCORMACK:  Good evening, everybody.  We have a senior administration official who will be able to give you a readout of the President's meetings with the Sultan of Brunei, Prime Minister Goh of Singapore, and President Toledo of Peru.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The President, with all three leaders, spoke about -- spent a lot of time talking about the war on terrorism, saying it would be a long-term effort and appreciated the support that was offered, understanding that everyone can contribute in their own way; focused on the importance of information and intelligence-sharing, and that it was a two-way street, and that they could provide information, and that if we had any information we'd provide it to them. And also, the second thing was to focus on the importance of cutting off the money flows that might be going through their countries.

     All three expressed their support to the President for his leadership and pledged to do what they can.  There was no specific offers made, other than, as I mentioned, the discussion of intelligence, where they said they would share information and, in some cases, had shared information.

     The President discussed with Prime Minister Goh and with President Toledo his commitment to free trade and asked for their support to launch the new trade round.

     And I'll take questions now.

     Q    Was there any discussion of the Singapore-U.S. free trade agreement, and did they move forward on that at all?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No.  Actually, the only discussion on trade was in the context of the next round, and the specifics of the Singapore free trade agreement were not raised there.

     Q    Were either the Middle East or the downed helicopter come up in any of the --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The President mentioned that we had lost some forces in the event and that he was saddened by their loss.  And the President just raised it in his presentation of the -- in the context of the discussion that he had on the war.

     And on the Middle East, he mentioned that it was important that we did have to take a look at the long-term causes of these issues -- this is the President speaking -- and that Secretary Powell, who was present in all of these meetings, was working very hard on these issues and was in frequent contact with the leaders in the Middle East, and that they were making efforts to do what they could to work through the process in the Middle East.

     Q    Was the issue of Shining Path raised in the --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No.  No.

     Q    Did the Sultan have any views on the air campaign in Afghanistan?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  He did not mention anything about that.

     Q    You mentioned some discussion of intelligence-sharing being a two-way street.  Who raised that matter?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The President, in his presentation. He said that not only would we be interested in any information that you have, but I can assure you that I -- meaning the President -- that we will provide you information.  If we get anything that would be of interest to you, we'll make sure that we provide it to you.

     Q    In the meeting with President Toledo, was there any discussion about the situation of former President Fujimori?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  There was a brief reference to him, and the response -- the President asked how that was going and the reply was to the effect that we're trying to work out extradition with Japan, but it's still -- the prospects of that are rather open.

     Q    Did President Toledo ask President Bush for support to get the extradition from Japan?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No.  No.

     Q    Did the President raise the presence of any al Qaeda cells in any of their countries?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  There was a discussion of the al Qaeda -- some al Qaeda that may be related to al Qaeda people that the President said had been -- that we had arrested several people -- several hundred people around the world.  There was no specific mention of people -- including the United States -- there was no -- I don't mean that he meant definitely al Qaeda, but people that had been detained, including in the United States.  But there was no specific mention of them in any of the other countries.  I'm trying to remember which discussion that was with.  I think it was with Prime Minister Goh, where that came up.

     Q    Backing up to the meeting with Prime Minister Mahathir earlier, similar question -- there's obviously some evidence that al Qaeda was operating in Malaysia, and, of course, the famous photograph of the Cole suspects with one of the hijackers.  Did they get into that at all, and did they discuss the nature and activities of al Qaeda operating in Malaysia?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Only in general terms.  There was a discussion about -- the Prime Minister had mentioned how they had long experience with -- first with the communist terrorists and now with the more Islamic-natured terrorists of which he said there were some that were related to -- that had been trained by al Qaeda, that had been arrested in Malaysia.  But there was no reference made to the Cole, or that specific incident was not raised.

     Q    How about further intelligence-sharing of the kind that led to that photograph --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The idea on intelligence sharing, the President praised the cooperation we have in intelligence sharing with Malaysia and that we would continue to go in that -- continue in that effort.

     Q    Two questions.  Was it President Bush who raised with President Toledo the issue of the status of President Fujimori?  The first one to mention that was President Bush?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes.

     Q    The second question, I haven't seen President Fox of Mexico on President Bush's schedule.  They're best friends and all that sort of thing.  Is that going to be taken care of before this is over?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  There will not be -- the only bilateral that's remaining is with -- the only scheduled is with President Putin.  And there will be an opportunity tomorrow during the six hours of meetings for him to meet with the other leaders.  They have lots of time there and I'm sure he will have a chance to see several of them.

     Q    So there will be no bilateral?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  There's no scheduled bilaterals, but there is an opportunity to have many interactions there.  But there's not a formal pull-aside or a meeting scheduled, like, per se.

     Q    The Russians and the Chinese apparently agreed today that the military phase in Afghanistan should end as soon as possible.  Do you have any reaction to that?  Are you troubled by that?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, I don't have any comment on that.

     Q    What, if anything, did the President tell him about U.S. ground operations in Afghanistan?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  They talked about, in general terms, about the -- in all of the meetings, that the air war was in order to prepare the way for the use of ground forces.

     Q    Do you have any idea about a letter from Taiwan's President, protesting the absence of Taiwan's representative in today's leaders meeting?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I have not seen that letter.

END                                                                   7:37 P.M. (Local)


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