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Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 06:13 GMT 07:13 UK
Apec condemns 'all forms' of terrorism
Shanghai street
President Bush will arrive in Shanghai on Thursday
By Jonathan Head in Shanghai

Foreign ministers from the 21 members of the Apec Asia Pacific group meeting in Shanghai have agreed a joint declaration which condemns terrorism in all its forms.

The statement, agreed after a meeting attended by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, says any terrorist activity should be struck down, and the flow of funds to terrorist organisations should be stopped.

US President George W Bush is due to arrive at the summit later on Thursday.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the Apec meeting
US Secretary of State Colin Powell was present at the meeting condemning terrorism
It is the first gathering of world leaders since the attack on the World Trade Center last month.

This is a very welcome show of support for President Bush's campaign against terrorism, from a part of the world which has often been uneasy about US foreign policy.

All 21 members of Apec have agreed a statement which condemns terrorist activity.

More significantly, there is no criticism in it of the US operations against Afghanistan, even though there is strong domestic opposition in some member countries, notably Indonesia and Malaysia which are predominantly Muslim.

The statement does stress, however, that terrorism should be fought through the United Nations.

Striking endorsement

This endorsement from a region of more than two billion people will help President Bush to present the US actions as part of a global campaign.

International Conference Centre, Shanghai
Apec ministers avoided criticism of US action against Afghanistan at their meeting
It is also striking that the Apec host, China, is now willing to back the US.

Just eight months ago the two countries were at loggerheads over a collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter.

Like many east Asian countries, China is concerned by militant Islam within its own borders.

It may also be hoping that helping Washington now will result in less criticism of China's human rights record in the future.

The BBC's Adam Brookes
"I think the diplomacy on terrorism is what the Americans really have in mind"
Alison Reynolds, Director of Free Tibet in UK
"We have had some worrying statements from the Chinese"
See also:

18 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Bush arrives in Shanghai
17 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan Apec row heads for the wire
17 Oct 01 | Business
Apec tackles global slowdown
17 Oct 01 | Americas
US takes anti-terror drive to Apec
15 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Apec set for summit row
09 Sep 01 | Business
Apec agrees anti-recession measures
06 Apr 01 | Business
Apec's free trade struggle
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