President Obama arrives in Canada Friday for the G-8 and G-20 summits of the world's major industrialized nations. VOA chief White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports, discussions at the G-8 will focus on development, economic, peace and security issues, and the G-20 summit will assess steps member nations are taking along the path of financial recovery.
After a working lunch of the G-8 on economic issues, the president participates in an outreach session with 7 African leaders, discussing development and maternal and child health issues.
Leaders from Haiti, Jamaica and Colombia will join the discussions, focusing on the drug trade between Latin America and Africa. Later, a G-8 leaders-only dinner covers political and governance issues.
G-8 leaders convene again Saturday morning at Muskoka, outside Toronto, to discuss peace and security issues, with a focus on Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East peace process, before a concluding news conference.
Senior administration officials say President Obama and other G-8 and G-20 leaders will work on ongoing steps to ensure a durable global economic recovery, and discuss financial regulatory reform, along with trade, climate change, energy security and energy subsidies.
At a White House news conference Thursday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who will also be in Toronto, President Obama explained decisions he sees G-20 countries facing in order to sustain economic growth and re-balance the global financial situation.
"Not every country is going to respond in the same way but all of us are going to have responsibilities to re-balance in ways that allow for long-term sustained economic growth in which all countries are participating and hopefully the citizens of all these countries will benefit," he said.
The president said China's decision to allow its currency to rise in value against the U.S. Dollar will have to be monitored over the course of the year.
President Obama will hold a series of bilateral meetings in Toronto on Saturday, including his first face to face with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Afghanistan and Iran will be key topics.
Administration officials say Mr. Obama will use the annual gatherings to underscore the U.S. commitment to leadership in and increased engagement with Asia.
Particularly important will talks with South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, underscoring the strength of the bilateral security alliance in the wake of the sinking of a South Korean warship by North Korea.
In talks with China's President Hu Jintao, senior U.S. officials say the president will discuss global economic and security issues, including Iran and the recent U.N. Security Council resolution approved with Beijing's support.
U.S. officials say Mr. Obama's approach on China is based on a recognition of cooperative and competitive elements in the relationship, while looking to expand as much as possible the cooperative aspect.
Asked if the president will raise the issue of U.S. - China military to military relations, suspended by Beijing this past January, the officials would only reiterate Washington's position that military exchanges be resumed.
Among other bilaterals scheduled so far, President Obama will meet with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, and Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Japan, still the only Asian member of the Group of Eight nations.
U.S. domestic issues forced President Obama to twice postpone a planned visit to Indonesia. U.S. officials say the president is likely to use his G-20 meeting with President Yudhoyono to express his admiration for Indonesian actions to fight terrorism.