WASHINGTON -- US President George W. Bush said on Thursday China's rapid economic growth has provided a "good opportunity" for the United States as well as other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
US President George W. Bush speaks at the 89th Annual American Legion Convention in Reno, Nevada, August 28, 2007. [Reuters]
"Is China an issue for the world? Absolutely. But I don't view it as a negative issue, I view it as an opportunity to work with one of the really significantly growing economies in the world," Bush said during a round-table interview with Asian media on the eve of his visit to Australia next week.
"First, I view that a growing middle class in China is good for US exporters; it provides opportunity," said the US president, who will attend the 15th economic leaders' informal meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, scheduled to be held in Sydney on September 8-9.
"By the way, it's not only good for US exports, it's good for Australian exporters, and it's good for Japanese exporters, and it's good for Singaporean, Malaysian -- anybody who is making a product somebody wants, it's just a good opportunity," he added.
On US-China relations, Bush stressed that it is important for the two countries to have a strategic relationship that allows for engagement and helps both to deal with issues such as trade deficits.
In response to a question, the president dismissed the notion that Washington has been distracted from engagement in Asia because of the war on terror and issues like Iraq.
He said relations between the United States and the Asia-Pacific region have never been better. "This just doesn't happen without work," he said.
As to the upcoming APEC meeting, Bush said he was looking forward to discussing trade with other leaders of APEC economies.
He said his first priority for trade at the meeting will be on the Doha round of talks and hoped leaders at the APEC meeting will express their desire to see the Doha round succeed.