President Bush is in Singapore for talks with top officials, and a speech expected to set the tone for his three-nation trip to Southeast Asia.
The visit to Singapore is a prelude to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam Saturday and Sunday.
While here, President Bush is stressing some of the main themes he will sound during the APEC gathering in Hanoi. He is talking about fostering greater cooperation between the United States and Asia in areas ranging from economic development to fighting terrorism.
A speech at a local university will be the keynote address of this eight-day tour of Southeast Asia, which also includes a stop in Indonesia.
Before the speech, Mr. Bush met with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. At the conclusion of the talks, the president told reporters they had a wide-ranging discussion on a number of issues, including trade.
"We have got a lot in common, particularly a desire to continue to promote free and fair trade, because your country has shown that open markets are capable of lifting up an entire people," he said.
The president began his visit to Singapore on a symbolic note, with a visit to the Asian Civilizations Museum.
He toured exhibits highlighting the rich multicultural heritage of the region - including the music.
When the concert ended, he was handed a rubber mallet, and urged to try a traditional Indonesian instrument called a saron.
The president acknowledged he is not much of a musician, as he asked the performers to come to the United States. Mr. Bush leaves Singapore on Friday for Hanoi.