President George W. Bush and leaders of the twenty other members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, pledged to advance the goals of free and open trade and investment.
In a statement written after the meeting, held this year in Hanoi, Vietnam, the participants agreed to look for ways to create a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific as a future vision. They also committed themselves to breaking the current impasse in the Doha round of world trade negotiations. Talks stalled in July over disagreements on farm subsidies and barriers to agricultural imports and exports.
The APEC leaders also expressed their determination to fight terrorism and slow the spread of weapons of mass destruction. President Bush says, "The greatest danger in our world today is that these terrorists could get their hands on weapons of mass destruction.":
"We discussed the threat of proliferation from North Korea. After North Korea's recent nuclear test, the United Nations Security Council passed a unanimous resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea's regime, and America is working with our partners to enforce those sanctions. We will also continue working with Japan, China, South Korea, and Russia through the six-party talks. Our nations are speaking with one voice: North Korea must abandon its nuclear weapons programs, and we will not tolerate North Korea's proliferation of nuclear technology to hostile regimes and terrorist networks."
President Bush says Asia and the U.S. also "face common challenges like energy security and the threat of pandemic diseases that transcend borders":
"Our growing economies are too dependent on oil, and we have a common interest in pursuing affordable, reliable energy alternatives. . . .We are also working with our partners in the region to address the threat of diseases like Avian flu, which has the potential to claim many lives and inflict terrible damage on our societies if not detected and stopped quickly."
"By standing with our allies in the Asia-Pacific region," says Mr. Bush, "we will defend our free way of life, confront the challenges of a new century, and build a more hopeful, peaceful, and prosperous future for our children and grandchildren."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.