November 22, 2002

Bush to Attend APEC Summit Despite Attacks

US President George W. Bush has told Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin he will travel to China next month for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit despite the terror attacks on the United States, China's vice foreign minister Wang Guangya said on Thursday.

Bush would also go to Beijing, as previously planned, during his visit to China, Wang added.

The US leader confirmed he would go ahead with the trip, the centrepiece of which is the APEC leaders' summit in the eastern city of Shanghai, during a conversation between the presidents late on Wednesday, Wang said.

"In the recent conversation between the Chinese and US presidents after the attack, President George W. Bush confirmed that he will attend as planned the APEC informal meeting in Shanghai in October and pay a visit to Beijing," Wang said in response to a question at a press conference.

Wang said he believed the summit would "go ahead as planned despite the tragic events on Tuesday".

"The United States is certainly a very important key member in the APEC community, and I believe the United States can play a very, very important role in this organization."

Bush is due to join many of the leaders of APEC's 21 member countries at the informal summit in Shanghai on October 20-21.

A summit between Bush and Jiang is expected to take place after the APEC meeting.

Wang said security for the APEC summit would be tight.

"The relevant organizing committees for the APEC informal leaders' meeting to be held in Shanghai have always paid the highest attention to the issue of security. And we will try our best to provide the security guarantees."

"And you probably agree China is a very safe country, and Shanghai is very safe city."

Even before Tuesday's plane-hijack attacks, central Shanghai was preparing to virtually shut down for the APEC period.

Firms in the city have already been told a week-long holiday may be declared around the meeting period to ease traffic congestion and ensure security.

The meetings will be held among the skyscrapers of the city's Lujiazui financial district, and the under-river tunnel and surrounding roads leading to the district are likely to be closed off as they were during Russian president Vladimir Putin's visit this June.

(chinadaily.com.cn 09/13/2001)

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