Presidential travels take Bush to Asia

Published 9:48 am Sunday, March 3, 2002

By By Sonny Callahan, U.S. Rep
Last week, the House of Representatives adjourned for a brief recess to allow members to return to their home states and attend to matters of importance in their individual districts.
I can tell you that after the lengthy and sometimes heated legislative debates in which my colleagues and I were recently involved, the break was certainly a welcomed one.
At the same time, President Bush's duties took him out of the nation's capital and on a three-nation tour of Asia.  This trip, which allowed him to meet with the leaders of Japan, South Korea and China, was certainly important for many reasons.
Perhaps more than any other, though, this visit represented the president's continuing efforts to solidify the support of nations in all corners of the globe who strongly condemned the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
The president certainly handled each of his public appearances and private meetings with the skill of a chief executive who has served much longer than 14 months.
Constructive meetings
The comments that have emerged from both the White House and the offices of the Asian leaders following the president's trip demonstrate that, while there are many points on which our countries continue to disagree, there are positive signs of continued growth in international relations.
Following his fourth meeting with President Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi offered his country's continued support of the United States when he said, "Japan has been cooperating with the United States andthe international community to eradicate terrorism.  And we shall continue with this firm resolve and firm stance to fight against terrorism in the days ahead."
In the next few days, it became very apparent that Prime Minister Koizumi echoed the sentiments of many in that region of the world.
During his visit to China, both President Bush and Chinese President Jiang Zemin affirmed their confident belief that their unity in the war on terrorism will gradually lead to a time of more cordial relations.
South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung acknowledged the important political, economic and military alliance that has developed between his nation and the United States, and he promised the continued cooperation and full support of his people in the war on terrorism.
The common theme found in the statements of some of today's most important Asian leaders demonstrate the world's support of our ongoing struggle.
During the past five months, each of these three countries, along with many others, have done all they can to assist the United States in this effort and provide them with the intelligence that is so vitally needed in a struggle of this type.
And long after al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations around the world have been defeated, this support will lead to even greater cooperation and growth in our dealings with these important players on the world stage.
Pat on the back for the military
As every one of us is certainly aware, the men and women of the United States military put their lives on the line every day in the defense of liberty both here and abroad.
Many times, we tend to forget that the military is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when we don't hear about them in the news.
During his overseas trip, the president n as he has always done on domestic and international trips n took time to thank them for a job well done.
More importantly, he wanted them to know that even if they don't always hear it, America is behind them 100 percent.
And the military was not at all shy in demonstrating their enthusiasm and thanks for his visits and for the support he has shown since first entering office.
From a chilly Air Force hanger in Anchorage, Alaska, to the highly tense line of demarcation separating North and South Korea that is watched by the Army, the president wasted no time in letting the military know we appreciate their efforts.
I think the president's own words best summarize the feelings we all share: 
The enemy hit us, and they made a huge mistake.  Not only will our nation seek justice, but out of the evil will come incredible goodness.
Out of the evil will come an America more resolved not only to defend freedombut an America resolved to show the world our true strength, which is the compassionate, decent heart of the American people.
Until next week, take care and God bless.

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