Asia’s English language newspapers are giving heavy coverage to U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to the region.
At the beginning of his tour, Mr. Obama told a Japanese audience that "the rise of a strong,
prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of
nations." The state controlled press in China heralded the American president’s promise not to try to “contain” China.
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“We do not seek to impose any form of government on any other nation,” Mr. Obama told a gathering of Chinese college students. The meeting with the students in which the U.S. president also strongly advocated human rights and freedom of information was broadcast locally, but not nationally.
The China Daily newspaper carried an article on its website headlined, “U.S. President Impresses Young Chinese.” The article contained an interview with a young Chinese man who said he admired Mr. Obama’s dedication to the poor and his knowledge of ordinary people.
A front page article in Monday’s Japan Times was headlined, “Obama Has China Rethinking Race Issues.” The article was a reprint of a recent Washington Post article about a young, mixed race Chinese woman who experienced racial animosity after she beat out a number of other Asian contestants in a talent show.
THE "PACIFIC" PRESIDENT
Another Japanese newspaper, The Asahi Shimbun, emphasized the American president’s stated desire to the “first Pacific president” and to make the U.S. alliance with Japan the “cornerstone” of American policy in Asia.
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The Bangkok Post rain an article about the president’s promotion of open dialogue and freedom of expression on the Internet.
The Korea Times criticized the South Korean government’s recent confrontations with North Korea as a “waste of opportunity” to increase cooperation between the two Koreas. A Times editorial said the Obama Administration’s new approaches to diplomacy could have provided a new avenue for “clearing away” confrontation on the Korean peninsula.
REGIONAL CONCERNS REFLECTED IN STORIES
The Daily Star in Bangladesh and The Phnom Phen Post in Cambodia emphasized President Obama’s request to Burma for the release of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
An article in The Times of India pointed to the American leader’s discussions during his Beijing summit about India-U.S. nuclear cooperation. An article in The Telegraph (Kolkata) highlighted the decision by the U.S. president and other world leaders to delay a decision on fighting climate change.
Newspaper coverage in Asia frequently featured front page articles as well as large pictures of a smiling U.S. president. The heavy coverage reflected the high public interest in President Obama's first official visit to the region.