Remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Howard of Australia in Joint Press Availability

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- PRIME MINISTER HOWARD: Mr. President , ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to welcome the media to this news conference. I'll say a couple of words, invite the President to speak briefly...

And I'm looking forward to my discussions with the leader of China about a lot of issues, one of which, of course, will be climate change. And my attitude is as I explained to you, is that in order for there to be an effective climate change policy, China needs to be at the table. In order to get China at the table they have to be a part of defining the goals. Once we can get people to define the goals, then we can encourage people to define the tactics necessary to achieve the goals. I believe this strategy is going to be a lot more effective than trying us -- people -- countries to say, this is what you've got to do. We're telling you how to behave -- as opposed to why don't we work together to achieve a common consensus on being good stewards of the environment. APEC is a good forum to do this. You provided great leadership on the issue, and I appreciate it.

Q: Thank you, Mr. President . You've described the U.S. relationship with China as complex. U.S. military sources are now confirming that Chinese hackers hacked into the computers at the Pentagon in June, hackers linked to the government in Beijing . And it's being described as a complicated cyber attack. Have you been briefed on this attack? How much more complex does this make the relationship with China ? And do you plan to bring it up with President Hu Jintao on Thursday?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm very aware that a lot of our systems are vulnerable to cyber attack from a variety of places. And therefore, the first question should be -- not to put questions in your mouth, Bret, but -- what are you doing to defend America against cyber attack? Are you aware that we have vulnerabilities, that people can hack into sensitive systems? And are you then providing expertise and technology necessary to defend? And the answer is, yes. We understand that we're vulnerable in some systems -- some, by the way, more valuable than others -- or less valuable than others, I guess is the best way to put it.

In terms of whether or not I'll bring this up to countries that we suspect may -- from which there may have been an attack, I may. In this instance, I don't have the intelligence at my fingertips right now. Whether it be this issue, or issues like intellectual property rights, I mean, if you have a relationship with a country, then you've got to respect the country's systems and knowledge base. And that's what we expect from people with whom we trade.

Our relationship with China is complex. On the one hand, we appreciate the opportunity to trade goods and services. We certainly hope that China changes from a saving society to a consuming society. Right now, because of the lack of a safety net, many Chinese save for what we call a rainy day. What we want is the government to provide more of a safety net so they start buying more U.S. and Australian products. We want there to be a -- the middle class to feel comfortable coming into the marketplace, the global marketplace, so that our producers can see the benefits directly with trade with China .

By the way, our exports to China are up, Mr. Prime Minister , which is positive. We still have got a huge trade deficit with China , which then causes us to want to work with them to adjust -- to let their currency float. We think that would be helpful in terms of adjusting trade balances.

We've got great relations with China from a diplomatic perspective. In other words, we're able to talk with them openly and candidly. But do we agree on every issue? Not at all. I mean, for example, I've spent time talking about dissidents who have been jailed. I'm concerned about the treatment of the Dalai Lama. I want China to be more aggressive when it comes to Iran . I'm interested to hear President Hu Jintao 's attitudes toward the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. In other words, there's a lot of issues which we wish they would -- wish they would have a different lean to their policy. So I'm going to discuss these with him. But it's best to be able to discuss these issues in an environment that is frank and open and friendly, as opposed to one in which there's tension and suspicion.

And so when I say we've got great relations, I will sit down with the President and have a good honest, candid discussion, and he's going to tell me what's on his mind and I'm darned sure going to tell him what's on my mind.