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Bush Stresses US-Japan Alliance - 2002-02-18

President George W. Bush speaks to Japanese legislators Tuesday, as he continues his three-nation tour of Asia. Mr. Bush will stress the importance of the U.S.-Japanese alliance in the fight against terrorism.

The president will tell Asia's oldest legislature that the U.S.-Japanese partnership is "one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times," with a shared vision for the future of the Asian-Pacific region.

During a joint news conference with the Japanese prime minister Monday, Mr. Bush said this partnership continues in the fight against terrorism. "I believe the U.S. Japanese alliance is the bedrock for peace and prosperity in the Pacific," he said. "Japan is a generous host to America's forward-deployed forces, providing an essential contribution to the stability of Asia. This enduring partnership benefits both our countries, but it also benefits the world. The peace of the world is now threatened by global terror, and we have had no better friend with steadfast support than the Japanese government."

The president will thank Japanese leaders for what he calls their "unwavering" support in the fight against terrorism and their commitment to help pay for rebuilding Afghanistan.

Mr. Bush is expected to continue his warning about weapons of mass destruction in North Korea, which he says is part of an "axis of evil," along with Iran and Iraq, which could threaten world peace by helping terrorists acquire chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said the president's characterization of North Korea reflects what he called the U.S. leader's "firm resolve" to fight terrorism. He will not exclude any possibilities in order to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to prevent terrorism, he said. He will resort to all possible means to fight against terrorism. And I believe this resolve was behind the expression, "axis of evil."

Following his speech to Japanese legislators Tuesday, the president and Mrs. Bush will meet with the emperor and empress of Japan at Tokyo's Imperial Palace. They then leave for South Korea, where Mr. Bush will visit the demilitarized zone along the border with North Korea.