November 19th, 2006 15:21 EST
Bush's Vietnam Visit Opportunity To Consult with Counterparts
Washington -- President Bush’s visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting November 18-19 offered him the opportunity to meet with the presidents of China and Russia to discuss nuclear nonproliferation and trade issues.
In a joint press availability with President Hu Jintao of China prior to their meeting November 19, Bush said the United States and China "recognize that working together we can accomplish a lot for the security of the world and for the prosperity of our people.”
"China is a very important nation, and the United States believes strongly that by working together, we can help solve problems, such as North Korea and Iran," he continued.
Turning to economic issues, Bush told Hu that, "with as much commerce between our countries as there is, there's going to be trade difficulties, but nevertheless, we both adopt a spirit of mutual respect and the desire to work through our problems for the common good of our peoples."
President Hu said the close communication between the two leaders --through meetings, phone conversations and exchange of letters -- has “vigorously promoted China-U.S. relations.” He noted that U.S. exports to China jumped by 35 percent in the first seven months of 2006.
At a press briefing later in the day, White House spokesman Tony Snow said that the two leaders discussed steps to implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718, which imposes sanctions on North Korea, the need for a U.N. resolution on Iran and the situation in Darfur, Sudan.
In a joint press availability with Putin November 19, Bush said the United States supports Russia's accession to the WTO and called the bilateral trade pact signed that day "a good agreement for the United States ... an equally important agreement for Russia ... [and] a good agreement for the international trading community." (See related article.)
Putin said the agreement “lays out very favorable conditions [for both countries] to jointly tackle the very pertinent and acute problems of international relations together.”
The two leaders also discussed North Korea and Iran. (See Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.)
While in Vietnam, Bush also had a chance to attend a church service at the Cu Bac Cathedral with his wife Laura.
Speaking of that visit, Bush said, “A whole society is a society which welcomes basic freedoms, and there's no more basic freedom than the … freedom to worship as you see fit.”
The State Department recently removed Vietnam from its list of countries of particular concern for severe violations of religious freedom. (See related article)
The full transcripts of Bush’s press availabilities with Hu and Putin as well as his remarks on his church visit and White House spokesman Snow's press gaggle are available on the White House Web site.
For more information on U.S. policies, see The United States and China, Russia and International Religious Freedom.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)