HONOLULU -- Vice President George Bush toured Pearl Harbor and was briefed on Pacific Fleet operations on a brief stopover on his journey to China by way of the World War II battleground of Saipan.
Bush was to visit the 25th Infantry at Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu today, then board his jetliner for Saipan, 3,800 miles west of Hawaii.
Bush arrived in Hawaii Thursday on the first leg of a 10-day trip to the Far East, including six stops in China to encourage its rulers to build stronger trade links with the United States.
He was greeted by Hawaii Gov. George Ariyoshi, Adm. Ronald Hays, commander in chief of Pacific Forces, and Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi. After a military ceremony in which he reviewed the troops, the vice president was taken to Pearl Harbor for a briefing and a tour aboard the admiral's barge.
In Saipan, Bush was to visit the sites of fierce fighting in World War II, meet with Republican Gov. Pedro Tenorio and discuss with Micronesian leaders the coming independence of the Marshall Islands after 40 years of U.S. trusteeship.
The China visit -- Bush's fourth since leaving Peking 10 years ago when he served as head of the first U.S. diplomatic liaison mission since 1949 -- reciprocates the visit to Washington earlier this year of Chinese President Li Xiannian. The vice president is scheduled to arrive in China Sunday.
'Trade is moving with that country,' Bush said before leaving Washington. 'We want to see that relationship continue to grow.'
He will visit Peking, Chengdu, Guilin and Guangzhou, the Canton Trade Fair and tour the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, which was set aside for the practice of China's new economic reforms that are based partially on free-market principles.