US President George W. Bush arrived in Shanghai yesterday for an intensive round of diplomacy aimed at rallying international support for his war against terrorism and for a UN-backed interim government in Afghanistan. Mr Bush is making his first foreign visit since the September 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington. His plane was escorted by US fighter jets up to Chinese airspace, when mainland fighters took over. Mr Bush has extended his visit to the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit to allow time to cement the support of the leaders of China, Japan, Russia and Australia, as well as woo countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, which have been critical of the American bombing. Basking in the international spotlight, President Jiang Zemin will welcome guests today to the largest gathering of foreign leaders ever held in China. A series of meetings of top business leaders and trade officials has already been held to prepare the agenda for a new round of multilateral world trade talks next month. 'Mankind has entered a new century,' Mr Jiang said. 'This is not merely a chronological change. It marks a new era of economic development and social advancement for the international community. This new era distinguishes itself from others by a growing trend towards a multi-polar world and economic globalisation, and particularly by the rapid progress in science and technology.' He went on to promise that China would change its laws to adapt to the requirements of the World Trade Organisation, which it is expected to join next month. Although the Apec meeting was intended to showcase Shanghai and China's growing success as a trading nation, the focus for the bilateral meetings that start today will be on Mr Bush's diplomatic skills. China and Russia are seeking American concessions on US missile defence programmes and in other areas, in return for support of Washington's action in Afghanistan - where civilian casualties are mounting. US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who arrived after talks in Pakistan and India, is expected to outline a proposal to ask the United Nations to run a new interim government in Afghanistan similar to those established in East Timor and Cambodia. China and Russia are keen to influence the fate of a post-war Afghanistan and want US support over their policies on Taiwan and Chechnya respectively. Before leaving Washington, Mr Bush recognised the importance of establishing good bilateral relations with China and said he expected to discuss trade, weapons proliferation and human rights with Mr Jiang. 'The first priority is, of course, for Jiang Zemin to look me in the eye, and take the measure of the American President,' he said. 'I look forward to meeting him so he can see that I'm a sincere person when I say that I want to have good relations; that I understand there will be moments where we agree and moments where we disagree, but we'll work to have good relations.' The meeting of Apec foreign ministers ended with Mr Powell saying he had found support for moves to combat terrorism. There was a hope that the military campaign would end quickly and with success, he said. Malaysian Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz voiced opposition to US policies and sounded a note of caution after the ministers adopted a vague resolution voicing opposition to terrorism. 'All we say is that we must begin to understand the root cause of the problem and also to caution about whatever retaliation that's being undertaken so it doesn't harm innocent people,' she said, calling for an international conference on Afghanistan's future. China's Foreign Minister, Tang Jiaxuan, said Apec ministers had agreed the fight against terrorism was long-term and the United Nations should play a major role. His press conference was marred, however, by a row over Taiwan's representation at the summit, forcing him to shout down Taiwanese journalists. Separately yesterday, the US received a boost in its war on terrorism when Saudi Arabia pledged to rid itself of the supporters of exiled dissident Osama bin Laden, whom the US believes masterminded the September 11 attacks. Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz said Islam had dissociated itself from bin Laden and his followers, amid reports the kingdom had arrested up to 100 dissidents with links to him. Also yesterday, a London-based Islamic group reported that a leader of bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, Egyptian militant Abu Baseer al-Masri, had been killed by a bomb on Sunday near the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.