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Obama to Address Human Rights on Debut Trip to Asia


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U.S. President Barack Obama says he will talk to Chinese leaders about human rights when he visits China in the coming days as part of his first Asian tour since taking office.

Mr. Obama told the Reuters news agency that he has brought up the issue of human rights in past meetings with Chinese officials and will do so again on his upcoming visit. Critics have accused him of neglecting China's rights record to try to gain support from Beijing on other issues.

President Obama says climate change and trade also will be high on his agenda when he visits Shanghai and Beijing from November 15 - 18.

Mr. Obama begins his Asian tour with a two-day visit to Japan starting Friday. He travels Saturday to Singapore for a summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. He is due to end the tour with a two-day visit to South Korea next week.

In another interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK, Mr. Obama said he understands Tokyo's decision to review a 2006 agreement for the relocation of a U.S. military base on Japan's Okinawa island.

He says it is appropriate for Japan's new government to re-examine how to move forward on the deal. But Mr. Obama expressed confidence that Tokyo will conclude that sticking to the deal is in Japan's interest.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said he is eager to transfer the U.S. military base on Okinawa out of the island or even out of Japan. The presence of U.S. forces on Okinawa has long been a source of resentment for the local population.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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