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11:45 A.M. (Local)
PRESIDENT BUSH: It's an honor to be with our -- with my friend. And we have no stronger friend in the fight against terror than the Prime Minister of Japan. I have been impressed by his resolve and his determination.
I'm also very impressed by his resolve and determination to make economic reforms within Japan. He's got a very good strategy, an economic strategy, and I support it. And I support the fact that he is a strong leader.
I regret that I didn't have an opportunity to take advantage of the kind invitation to go to Tokyo, but, Mr. Prime Minister, I assure you that when things settle down, if I'm still invited, I would like to come back.
PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI: Of course.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, sir.
PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI: I appreciate your strong leadership to fight terrorism. Your determination and the patience, I appreciate.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, sir. Thank you.
I'll be glad to take -- yes, Ron.
Q A question, sir?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Sure.
Q Your reaction, please, to the crash of the helicopter that cost the lives of two servicemen. And can you tell us what mission it was that they were supporting?
PRESIDENT BUSH: My heart goes out to the family and friends of those who lost their life. It is hard to express my gratitude in proper words for people that are willing to sacrifice for freedom. The nation feels the same gratitude. And I want to assure the loved ones that the soldiers died in a cause that is just and right, and that we will prevail.
In the addresses I've given to our nation, I have said that sometimes the American people and our allies will see actions we take, and sometimes people won't see the actions we take. But they can rest assured that we will use the resources of our country, all the resources of our country, to ferret out and find and bring to justice those who would harm our country and harm other countries, as well. And that's exactly what we're doing.
Q Sir, are you satisfied with the progress in the first day of the ground war by the Special Forces?
PRESIDENT BUSH: I am satisfied we're making very good progress. We are dismantling Taliban defenses, Taliban military. We are destroying terrorist hideaways. We are, slowly, but surely, encircling the terrorists so that we can bring them to justice.
Q Do you feel like you've prepared the American people adequately for the possibility of casualties, sir?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Steve, I think the American people understand that ours will be a long struggle against terror. And they understand there will be sacrifice. After all, there was no greater example of that sacrifice than on Flight 93, when American citizens, after having said the Lord's Prayer, said, "let's roll." And they stormed that airplane so as to save lives on the ground.
I think the American people now fully understand that we are in an important struggle, a struggle that will take time, and that the country -- there will be moments of sacrifice. We've seen two such examples today.
The thing that's important for me to tell the American people, that these soldiers will not have died in vain. This is a just cause. It's an important cause. The Prime Minister of Japan understands how important this cause is. He's a strong friend and ally in our fight against terror. We must succeed -- and we will succeed.
Q Mr. President, both you and Dr. Rice have talked about how much cooperation you're getting from other countries. Is it the case that all countries around the world are cooperating in this effort, or are there still countries that we would like to see more determination from to join this fight against terror?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I fully understand that some countries will participate with military forces, and others won't feel comfortable doing that. Some countries will be very good about sharing intelligence; other countries may not be so good. Some countries will be much more efficient about cutting off money; other countries may be a little lax about cutting off money. But the point is, is that the coalition is broad and deep and strong and committed.
And we are very pleased with not only the commitment, but the collective contribution. And we're making great progress. We're -- not only are we doing well militarily, but we're sharing intelligence all across the globe, in ways that people could never envision up to now.
So I'm very pleased. And I want to commend the Secretary of State for not only working hard to put the coalition together, but working hard to reenforce the coalition. And one of the reasons I came to this important meeting was to be able to look at my friend and thank him for his commitment, his support, and thank other world leaders for their support.
Q Should the American people expect more from --
Q Sir, can you tell us how the meeting went with the Prime Minister of Malaysia, who has expressed concern about the military action?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, we had a very good visit today. He is concerned about the death of innocent people in Afghanistan, and I assured him I am, too. Our beef is not with the Afghan people. Our beef is with a government that houses and feeds and tries to hide terrorists. And I assured him that our campaign was -- that we were trying to be as careful as we possibly could to achieve our military objective.
Secondly, I want the American people to understand that we're a compassionate government. We're spending a great deal of money to help the people of Afghanistan. And I'm concerned about the fact that food isn't getting to some Afghan citizens, and the reason why is because the Taliban is preventing food distribution. They're disrupting food, they're stealing food. These are people that are willing to starve their people, which is yet another reason why the Taliban must go.
Q Should the American people expect more --
Q -- to his question, were you commenting on the success of today's mission, or to the success of the mission in general?
PRESIDENT BUSH: The success of the mission in general. We're making great progress. We're making great progress. As you know, I'm not going to comment on a specific operation. I will tell you, though, that we're using all the resources of the country. And, in general, we're making very good progress. We're pleased with the progress being made.
Q Should the American people expect more raids like today, sir?
Q -- what about Putin tomorrow --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, I think it's a very important meeting with President Putin tomorrow. I'm sorry, Mr. Prime Minister. But I look forward to the continued progress toward our Crawford meeting.
Somebody said, well, there's great anticipation that there will be so-called breakthroughs. Well, the breakthrough occurred in our first meeting, where we made a determined effort to work together to find common ground when it comes to new strategic arrangements. But I wouldn't expect any startling news, except for the fact that were continuing our dialogue.
The Prime Minister has got a few comments.
Q (Question asked in Japanese.)
PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI: My treasure, precious, for Ripken, world-famous baseball player. I love baseball very much. I love baseball very much -- American sports.
PRESIDENT BUSH: He's got a very nice arm, too. (Laughter.) I saw his fast ball at Camp David. (Laughter.)
PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI: Yes -- quite a spirit, very strong. Reliable.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Plus, we've been very impressed by Ichiro. (Laughter.)
PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI: My name is June Ichiro. (Laughter.) June is pure -- June means pure, purity. Ichiro.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Got you. (Laughter.)
END 11:55 A.M. (Local)
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