SLUG: 2-270472 Bush victory/Asia react DATE: NOTE NUMBER:









INTRO: Asian leaders are offering congratulations to President-elect George W. Bush. As VOA's Amy Bickers reports from Tokyo, governments across the region are now trying to discern what the Republican victory means for bilateral relations with the United States.

TEXT: After Vice President Gore conceded the election Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori said in a statement that he hopes to work with the new president-elect to strengthen the alliance between their nations. He also says he hopes to go to Washington shortly after Mr. Bush's January inauguration.

Many in the Japanese government are hopeful that the new administration will give Japan a more prominent place in the U-S diplomatic arena than did the Clinton government. Many officials in Tokyo say Mr. Clinton's pursuit of closer ties with China somewhat eclipsed relations between Tokyo and Washington. By contrast, Mr. Bush says he will strengthen U-S ties with Japan.

But for many Japanese, the confusing vote-count issue and the partisan tensions of the last several weeks have harmed the image of the American presidency.

Toshio Minatani is a 22-year old company clerk.


He says that the way the U-S presidency was decided appears unclear, even though the United States has a more direct way of choosing its leader than Japan.

In China, President Jiang Zemin congratulated Mr. Bush on his electoral success. Mr. Jiang said he is ready to work together with the new U-S president to promote a sound and stable development of U-S-China relations. He added those relations should be based on the principles in three U-S-Chinese joint communiques. Beijing holds that those documents commit the United States to recognizing China's sovereignty over Taiwan.

China's state-run media have indicated that Beijing is tentative about what the Bush presidency will mean for Sino-U-S relations. The president-elect expressed strong support for Taiwan during the election campaign. Chinese officials are said to be concerned about the possibility of stronger ties between Washington and Taipei in a Bush administration.

In Taiwan meanwhile, President Chen Shui-bian Thursday said that his country hopes to develop closer relations with the United States under the new leadership. He pledged to cooperate with Washington to ensure stability, prosperity and development in the region.

In Southeast Asia, embattled Philippine President Joseph Estrada, now in the midst of an impeachment trail, congratulated president-elect Bush, but also praised Vice President Gore for putting up a good fight during the legal battles of the last five weeks.

From Australia, Prime Minister John Howard also offered his support, saying Mr. Bush could count on his nation's commitment to working together for the common good. (signed)