President Bush leaves for Asia today on a trip that will take him to Japan, China, South Korea and Mongolia.

The centerpiece of the president's trip is a summit of regional leaders in South Korea. U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley says the meeting of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, or APEC, will focus on promoting trade and fighting terrorism.

"The APEC nations are strong proponents of expanding trade. And the president will discuss the upcoming Doha Round of global trade negotiations at the APEC ministerial, but he will also be addressing bilateral trade issues, as he visits with the individual leaders in the region," Mr.Hadley says.

Mr. Hadley says President Bush is traveling to Asia to advance American interests by securing energy supplies, protecting international property rights and guarding against a potentially calamitous outbreak of avian flu.

"As you know, the avian flu respects no borders, and we can best protect the American people through close cooperation around the world to try and ensure that, as cases are identified, data is shared quickly and nations take immediate steps to address any outbreak," Mr.Hadley says.

On their way to Asia, the president and Mrs. Bush will stop at an air base in Alaska to talk about fighting terrorism, and visit with families of soldiers who have been killed in that fight.

In Japan, they will meet Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Kyoto, where Mr. Hadley says the president will congratulate the Japanese leader on his re-election, and thank him for his help in Afghanistan and Iraq, where Japan is the second largest donor after the United States.

Mr. Hadley says President Bush will urge the prime minister to continue promoting economic reform, and to lift a ban on American beef, that was imposed over concerns about Mad Cow disease.

President Bush will deliver a speech in Kyoto that Mr. Hadley says will offer a positive vision of American engagement in Asia and the importance of freedom for the region's continued success.

"The president's trip to Asia comes at a time when our relations with nations of the region have rarely been stronger. During the trip, President Bush will reaffirm the importance of, and his commitment to those relationships," Mr.Hadley says.

After Japan, the president flies to South Korea for the APEC summit and bilateral meetings with President Roh Moo-Hyun that are expected to focus on efforts to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

The United States, China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea are in six-party talks with the government of Pyongyang. While those negotiations have made some progress, Mr. Hadley downplayed speculation that this trip would see any major breakthrough on North Korea.

On the sidelines of the APEC summit, President Bush will meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

In China, President Bush will meet with President Hu Jintao to press him on carrying-out China's commitment to reforming its currency rates, increase U.S. imports and protecting intellectual property rights.

Mr. Hadley says President Bush will also share what he calls an ambitious vision for China, that the country would be stronger by allowing greater individual freedom to worship, to speak and to pursue private business opportunities.

Mr. Bush will then be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Mongolia, with a stop in Ulan Bator, where he will thank Mongolian leaders for contributing troops to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.