The United States and Russia are vowing to cooperate in the war on terrorism and in the search for an agreement on missile defense. Both issues were on the agenda when President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin met Sunday in Shanghai, China.
The leaders said they are making progress on a new strategic framework. But at their third meeting this year, both men held to their old positions on missile defense and the anti-ballistic missile treaty.
President Bush says he wants to scrap the 1972 Cold War treaty in order to build a missile shield. President Putin remains skeptical, but sounds optimistic.
At a joint news conference in Shanghai Sunday, Mr. Putin said some sort of understanding on the ABM treaty is possible. "At least I believe we do have understanding that we can reach agreement taking into account national interests of Russia and the United States and taking into account the necessity to strengthen international stability in this very important area," said the Russian leader.
President Bush called the anti-ballistic-missile treaty outdated and outmoded, and said "we will continue working with year other and see if we can not find common ground on the ABM treaty."
Mr. Bush said the United States seeks a new relationship with Russia based on cooperation and mutual interests, instead of confrontation. He told reporters President Putin's response to the September 11 terrorist attack on America offered proof that relations have entered a new phase.
"He knew the American military was moving to high-alert status. To simplify our situation, to show solidarity, he ordered Russia's military to stop a set of exercises that were getting underway," recounted President Bush. "America, and I in particular, will remember this act of friendship in a time of need."
The Russian leader said the consequences of the September 11 attacks are being felt around the world. He said he stands by the decision to attack terrorist and Taleban targets in Afghanistan. "I fully agree with the position of President Bush, and I believe that his action was measured and adequate to the threat that the United States was confronted with," said Mr. Putin.
This was their first face-to-face meeting since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Presidents Bush and Putin will meet again next month in the United States, and will spend November 12-14 at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas.