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Bush Ends Asia Tour - 2003-10-24


President Bush is returning to Washington after a six-nation tour of Asia. On his way home, he stopped off in the state of Hawaii to raise money for next year's presidential election.

President Bush wrapped-up this trip with one last speech to a hotel ballroom full of Republican Party activists here in Hawaii.

"If I seem a little jet-lagged, it's because I've spent a long week away from home," he said. "After eight days on the road and more than 18,000 miles in the air, it's great to be back in America."

This trip took him to Japan where he discussed multi-lateral efforts to convince North Korea to give-up its nuclear weapons program. He visited the Philippines and Singapore to thank leaders for their help in the fight against terrorism.

In Thailand, he joined 20 other leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to discuss free trade. President Bush went to Indonesia where he and President Megawati Sukarnoputri vowed to continue tracking down those responsible for last year's bombing in Bali that killed more than 200 people.

And in Australia, he thanked Prime Minister John Howard for contributing troops to U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Joined on stage in Hawaii by Republican Governor Linda Lingle and First Lady Laura Bush, the president called it a great trip.

"I visited with some of our strongest allies in the war on terror and some of the nation's most important trading partners," said President Bush. "We made progress on a broad agenda, an agenda that will help make America more secure and more prosperous."

On North Korea, the president continued to reject the country's call for a formal non-aggression treaty but did offer multi-lateral security guarantees backed by the United States, China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea if Pyongyang verifiably and irreversibly agrees to stop its nuclear weapons program.

After returning to Washington for a few hours at the White House, the president and Mrs. Bush will spend the weekend at Camp David.

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