Chile's president, Ricardo Lagos, says his country strongly supports the U.S.-led bombing strikes on terrorist targets in Afghanistan. Mr. Lagos spoke in Los Angeles Wednesday during a stop en route to Shanghai, where he will attend a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). The Chilean leader says increased international trade is one way to thwart the goals of terrorists.
On his first visit to the United States since the terror attacks in New York and Washington, Mr. Lagos said his people share the pain and grief of the families of the victims. He says his country also endorses the U.S.-led response.
"We fully support the strikes against terrorist targets, not against a country, not against a culture, not against a religion, but against an enemy of them all, because the aim of terrorists is not only to kill thousands of innocent people, barbarous as it is," President Lagos said. "They also aim at the fabric of social life."
The Chilean leader says terrorists hope to fray the bonds of trust between nations, including the bonds of trade that promote global development.
Mr. Lagos is a U.S. trained economist who was jailed briefly in 1986 by Chile's former military government. Since Chile's return to democracy in 1990, the country has extended its international ties. Despite a faltering economy in nearby Argentina, Chile's economy has grown in recent years.
But in the wake of the terror attacks, the threat of recession looms in Chile, as it does throughout the world. Chile's government is pursuing free-trade pacts with the United States and European Union, and while he is in Shanghai, Mr. Lagos hopes to expand his country's trade ties.
The Chilean leader says a new global consensus to uproot terrorist networks can form the basis for a consensus on other common issues.
"The values and institutions that we cherish, to protect our societies, freedom, justice, equal treatment under the law, tolerance, opportunity, democracy," he said. "All those values are values that are shared by the United States, by Chile, by most countries in the world."
Chilean President Recardo Lagos says those values underlie the new diplomacy that is emerging as nations band together in a war against terrorism. The subject of terrorism is expected to be high on the agenda of the 21-nation APEC meeting in Shanghai.