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Bush Takes Security Agenda to APEC Summit in Thailand - 2003-10-19


President Bush meets with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today (Sunday) ahead of Monday's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

U.S. officials say Mr. Bush will likely declare Thailand a major U.S. ally outside of NATO--giving it elite status that allows for greater military aid.

During the Asia-Pacific summit, Mr. Bush is expected to push for greater cooperation in the war on terrorism.

On Saturday, Mr. Bush stopped in the Philippines and praised the country for its efforts against terrorism. The Philippines is already a major U.S. ally. During a speech to a joint session of the Philippine Congress, the president pledged U.S. assistance to fight Islamic militants and reform the armed forces of the Southeast Asian country. Mr. Bush said in the fight against terrorism, the alliance between the United States and the Philippines is a rock of stability for Asia.

Mr. Bush's tour through Asia has also taken him to Japan. On Friday, he held talks with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. The two leaders repeated their call for a peaceful end to the North Korean nuclear stand-off. Prime Minister Koizumi said the two leaders also discussed economic issues and the situation in Iraq.

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