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CNN Live Event/Special

American's New War: President Bush and Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Hold a Press Conference

Aired September 25, 2001 - 11:45   ET


JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Take you quickly now live to the Rose Garden of the White House. President Bush, the visiting Japanese prime minister. You see Secretary of State Colin Powell in the background. President and the Japanese Prime Minister coming out after a meeting in the Oval Office to discuss, obviously, the current efforts to build -- oh, let's listen in.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am really pleased and honored that my personal friend and a friend of the United States has come all the way from Japan to express his solidarity with the American people in our joint battle against terrorism.

The prime minister and I had a wide-ranging discussion about ways that we can cooperate with each other to fight global terrorism. Most notably, we talked about the need to work in a way to cut off their funding. The prime minister also talked about ways that Japan will share intelligence, that we'll work cooperatively on the diplomatic front. We had a great discussion.

Not only am I pleased with the great cooperation that we're having with our friend, the Japanese, I am most pleased that the Saudi Arabians yesterday cut off relations with the Taliban and that President Putin, in a strong statement to the world, talked about the cooperation that Russia and the United States will have in combating global terrorism, as well.

The coalition of legitimate governments and freedom-loving people is strong. People will contribute in different ways to this coalition, but the mission won't change.

The duties of the coalition may alter, but the mission won't alter, and that is to root out and destroy international terrorism. The prime minister understands this requires a long-term vision, requires patience amongst both our people, and it also requires a determination and a strong will. I know he's got a determination and a strong will and he knows I am determined and willful in this struggle.

JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER: I am very pleased to say we are friends.

We had a great talk as friends, and I conveyed what I'm thinking. We Japanese stand by the United States to fight terrorists. We could make sure of this global objective; we must fight terrorism with determination and patience -- very good meeting.

BUSH: We'll take a few questions.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) extent unemployment and health insurance benefits to airlines workers and what do you think of proposals that put reservists and the military police on airplanes and (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Well, we're looking at all options. This doesn't require translation, by the way. We're looking at all options as to how to enhance airline security. I had a breakfast this morning with leaders of the Senate and the House. This is one the topics we discussed.

Secretary of Transportation Mineta is coming over this afternoon to present me with some of the options, and I look forward to working with Congress to put some concrete steps in place that will assure the American public that the government and the airlines are doing as much as we can to enhance security and safety.

In terms of the labor issues, Elaine Chao is developing a list of recommendations, a list of options, to make sure that the displaced worker is given due consideration in the halls of government. That subject came up as well. There is no consensus yet. There is a desire to work toward taking care of displaced workers. And both the Congress and the White House will be presenting options.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you mentioned Saudi Arabia, what does this mean in terms of isolating the Taliban and would you now encourage Pakistan to do the same?

BUSH: Well, we've gotten broad cooperation from Pakistan.

We're most pleased with their response. They are a country that has -- going to be obviously deeply affected by actions we may or may not take in that part of the world.

It's very interesting that the prime minister shared with me the fact that has country has provided $40 million in humanitarian assistance to the Pakistanis, and I want to thank him for that.

We, too, are providing humanitarian assistance for people in that world, as are the Saudis. And that's an important part of the coalition, to understand that one of the issues is to make sure that Pakistan is a stable country and that whatever consequences may occur as a result of actions we may or may not take, is one that we do the best we can to manage.

In terms of...

QUESTION: Isolating the Taliban.

BUSH: Oh, isolating the Taliban. Well, I think most people in the world understand that I was very serious. And we're serious when we say, "If you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorists." That's pretty isolated, it seems like to me.

QUESTION: Mr. President, according to (inaudible) about 90 percent of the Japanese are concerned that Japan's -- proposed U.S. military action could trigger terrorist attacks on Japan itself.

BUSH: Yes.


BUSH: Well, I think 100 percent of the Japanese people ought to understand that we're dealing with evil people who hate freedom and legitimate governments. And that now is the time for freedom-loving people to come together to fight terrorist activity. We cannot fear terrorists.

We can't let terrorism dictate our course of action. And we will not let a terrorist dictate the course of action in the United States. And I'm sure the prime minister feels the same way about Japan.

No threat -- no threat -- will prevent freedom-loving people from defending freedom. And make no mistake about it, this is good versus evil. These were evildoers. They have no justification for their actions. There is no religious justification. There is no political justification. The only motivation is evil. And the prime minister understands that. And the Japanese people, I think, understand that as well.

QUESTION: Amid signs of increasing turmoil in Afghanistan, and signs that the (INAUDIBLE) Taliban regime itself. Do you believe, since the people of Afghanistan themselves are trying to liberate themselves from the Taliban rule? And would you support that as part of your campaign against terrorism?

BUSH: We have no issue and no anger towards the citizens of Afghanistan. We have obviously serious problems with the Taliban government, an incredibly repressive government, a government that has a value system that is hard for many in America or in Japan, for that matter, to relate to, and incredibly repressive towards women.

And they have made the decision to harbor terrorists. Now, the mission is to root out terrorists, to find them and bring them to justice. Or, as I explained to the prime minister in Western terms, to smoke them out of their caves, to get them running, so we can get them.

And the best way to do that and one way to do that is to ask for the cooperation of citizens within Afghanistan who may be tired of having the Taliban in place or tired of having Osama bin Laden, people from foreign soils, in their own land willing to finance this repressive government.

And I understand the reality of what's taking place inside Afghanistan, and we're going to have -- listen, as I told the prime minister, we're angry, but we've got a clear vision. We're upset, but we know what we've got to do, and the mission is to bring these particular terrorists to justice and at the same time send a clear signal that says, "If you harbor a terrorist, if you aid a terrorist, if you hide terrorists, you're just as guilty as the terrorists."

This is an administration, we're not into nation-building. We're focused on justice, and we're going to get justice. It's going to take a while probably, but I'm a patient man. Nothing will diminish my will and my determination. Nothing.

QUESTION: Mr. President, do you expect any financial proposals from Japan...

BUSH: Financial proposals?


BUSH: You mean related to our...

QUESTION: For the entire mission against terrorism.

BUSH: Well, first of all, the prime minister, as he said, talked about $40 million of aid to Pakistan; that's a very important contribution. And I repeat the reason why: A stable Pakistan is very important to a stable world. Throughout Pakistan, there's nuclear weapons, and we want stability in countries that may have nuclear weapons. And so that's a very important financial contribution.

Remember, this war will be fought on a variety of fronts. It is not like wars that we're used to. There's very little that's conventional about it. It's different. For example, the sharing of information is vital to find and root out terrorism. It's vital that we have a cooperative relationship.

It's vital that if we hear anything that may affect the security of Japan, that we're forthcoming with that information and vice versa.

And so, the resources, again, you -- the tendency is to think in terms of a conventional war, where people might put money into support a military operation. That's not the kind of war we're talking about now.

And so, resources will be deployed in different ways, intelligence gathering, diplomacy, humanitarian aid and as well as cutting off resources. And one effective tool in getting these people is to cut off their money. And yesterday, I made an announcement here about how we intend to do so.

KOIZUMI (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I believe there are many ways to cooperate. It is one way to provide financial assistance, but there are diplomatic means. There are ways to provide medical assistance, assistance to refugees, there are ways to transport supplies. And I believe that these are all various ways in which we can cooperate.

BUSH: Thank you all very much.

KING: As we pass from morning to afternoon here in Washington, President Bush and the visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. More tough talk from the president. This is good versus evil, he said. He also And the United States is not interested in nation building, meaning it is not a stated goal of this military campaign against terrorism to topple the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Still, Mr. Bush urging those within Afghanistan who might have differences with the Taliban government to rise up. The president also saying, notably, he is waiting for a recommendation from the Secretary of Transportation, as to whether, at least in the short term, the government should use the national guard and military reservist to serve as air marshals.