George W. Bush photo

Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan and an Exchange With Reporters

September 25, 2001

President Bush. 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 and our joint battle against terrorism.

The Prime Minister and I had a wideranging 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 rout out and destroy international terrorism.

The Prime Minister understands this requires a long-term vision, requires a patience amongst both our people. And it also requires a determination and a strong will. I know he's got a determination and strong will, and he knows I am determined and willful in this struggle.

Mr. Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Koizumi. I'm very pleased to say, we are friends. Had a great talk, friendly, and I conveyed what I am thinking. We Japanese are ready to stand by the United States to fight terrorism. We could make sure of this global objective. We must fight terrorism with determination and patience. Very good meeting—fantastic meeting.

President Bush. I'll take a few questions.

Airline Security/Airline Labor Issues

Q. Mr. President, on the domestic front, sir, why not extend unemployment and health insurance benefits to airline workers? And what do you think of the proposals to put reservists and military police on airplanes and to allow pilots to carry guns?

President 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 was one of 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.

Yes, Steve [Steve Holland, Reuters].

Pakistan/Saudi Arabia

Q. 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?

President 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 his country has provided $40 million in humanitary assistance to the Pakistanis, and I want to thank him for that. We, too, are providing humanitary 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——

Q. Isolation of the Taliban.

President Bush. Oh, isolating the Taliban. Well, I think most people in the world understand that I was very serious and they're serious when we say if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist. That's pretty isolated, it seems like to me.


Q. Mr. President, according to opinion poll, about 90 percent of the Japanese are concerned that Japan's support of the U.S. military action could trigger terrorist attacks on Japan, itself. Do you have anything to say to them, to their concern?

President Bush. Well, I think this: 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 be—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 are evildoers. They have no justification for their actions. There's no religious justification; there's no political justification. The only motivation is evil. And the Prime Minister understands that, and the Japanese people, I think, understand that as well.


Q. Mr. President, amid signs of increasing turmoil in Afghanistan and signs that there may be splits within the Taliban regime, itself, do you believe that 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?

President Bush. We have no issue and no anger toward the citizens of Afghanistan. We have, obviously, serious problems with the Taliban Government. They're an incredibly repressive government, a government that has a value system that's hard for many in America, or in Japan for that matter, to relate to—incredibly repressive toward women.

They have made the decision to harbor terrorists. The mission is to rout 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.

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 Usama bin Laden, people from foreign soils, in their own land, willing to finance this repressive government.

I understand the reality of what's taking place inside Afghanistan, and we're going to have a—listen, as I've 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, Terry [Terry Moran, ABC News], that says if you harbor a terrorist, if you aid a terrorist, if you hide terrorists, you're just as guilty as the terrorists.

And 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.


Q. Mr. President, do you expect any financial support also from Japan, including——

President Bush. Financial proposals?

Q. Yes.

President Bush. You mean, related to our——

Q. For the entire mission against terrorism.

President Bush. For our—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. After all, Pakistan has 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. And so, for example, the sharing of information is vital to find and rout 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 in to 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, 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.

Prime Minister Koizumi. 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; there is assistance to refugees; there is ways to transport supplies. And I believe these are all various ways in which we can cooperate.

President Bush. Thank you all very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:45 a.m. in the Colonnade at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to President Vladimir Putin of Russia; and Usama bin Laden, leader of the Al Qaida terrorist organization. After the Prime Minister's opening remarks, he spoke in Japanese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

George W. Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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