World businesses asked to fight terror

Bush suggests terrorists trying to bring collapse of global market system

War On Terrorism


SHANGHAI, China - President Bush declared yesterday that the two American soldiers killed in an accident Friday - the first major U.S. casualties in South Asia - "died in a cause that was just and was right," and he told leaders of the 21 nations assembled here for an annual summit meeting that the terrorists who struck the World Trade Center were trying to bring about a collapse of world markets.

It is the first time that he has suggested that the terrorist network al-Qaida was seeking to "shatter confidence in the world economic system." He called on businesses around the world to join the fight against terrorism while acknowledging that new security measures and limits on border crossings ran the risk of undermining world commerce.

"Terrorists want to turn the openness of the global economy against itself," he told chief executives, who hold their own meetings in parallel with those of the government leaders. "We must not let them."

The news of the accident in Pakistan that killed two U.S. soldiers came just hours before the opening of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum here, and it underscored how Bush was mixing coalition building with long-distance management of the war.

Bush slid past questions about the exact mission of American special forces who were sent in and then taken out of Afghanistan on Friday. The deaths occurred within a search-and-rescue team on call in case the Afghanistan mission ran into trouble. "There will be moments of sacrifice," Bush said late yesterday morning as he was about to begin a meeting with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan. "We've seen two such examples today."

Bush gave Koizumi, a baseball fan, a signed baseball glove that belonged to retired Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken. Koizumi reciprocated by giving Bush a bow and arrow that is supposed to be shot from horseback, a report on the Knight Ridder/Tribune news service said.

The White House announced yesterday that Bush would leave Shanghai about half a day earlier than scheduled, departing as soon as a meeting with Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, ends today.

Though he got no specific endorsement for military strikes in Afghanistan, including none from Putin, Bush could claim a measure of diplomatic success here because he prevented any major defections from his informal coalition.

But there were several close calls, as country after country in the region repeated that it wanted to keep civilian casualties to a minimum and the military action in Afghanistan as short as possible.

After a meeting yesterday between President Jiang Zemin of China and Putin, the Russian president's spokesman, Aleksei Gromov, said, "The leaders want an end to the military phase and to move to a political settlement as soon as possible."

As several leaders express their reservations over civilian casualties, Bush and his advisers have steadily escalated their verbal attacks on Afghanistan's ruling Taliban. Yesterday, Bush said, "This conflict is a fight to save the civilized world" from an evil regime that starves its people and supports terrorists who live "on the hunted margin of mankind."

"By their hatred they have divorced themselves from the values that define civilization itself."

But while Bush talked almost exclusively about terrorism and its state sponsors, the countries here had other matters in mind.

Several focused on the region's fast declining economy, a subject Bush touched upon briefly yesterday but, to the disappointment of several countries, had no strategy to reverse. None of his most influential economic aides are here. Neither did he speak in detail about global economics, though there has been discussion that the world might need a coordinated response to an economic slump.

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