News / Asia

Obama Aims to Expand, Strengthen Relationships on 10-Day Asia Trip

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offer a toast during the State Dinner at the White House. November 24, 2009.
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offer a toast during the State Dinner at the White House. November 24, 2009.


President Barack Obama sets off this week (November 5) on a 10 day trip through Asia, starting in India, followed by Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.   Mr. Obama will be seeking to move U.S. economic and security ties forward with each country, while sending a message that the United States intends to remain fully engaged in Asia in economic and security terms.

President Barack Obama honored Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year at the White House with a state dinner, the first of his presidency, and Mr. Singh plans to pay back the favor in New Delhi during Mr. Obama's upcoming visit. Polls shows Mr. Obama is highly popular in India, the world's largest democracy.

India also is a growing economic and strategic power with a burgeoning middle class that has largely escaped the global recession. Ron Sommers of the U.S-India Business Council says President Obama's visit could bring major economic dividends for both countries.

"We need to be creating jobs right now in both countries, in both societies and so the emphasis here is going to be on the two-way highway that is being developed between the U.S. and India in terms of India being one of the fastest emerging markets on Earth," Sommers states.

Deepening U.S.-India economic ties come at a time when India also is looking elsewhere for partners, as part of its "Look East" policy.  Prime Minister Singh recently visited Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Walter Andersen is a South Asia specialist at the Johns Hopkins University School of International Studies. He says, "There is a huge potential for foreign direct investment on the part of the Japanese who have not invested much yet, but they are about to invest in a very significant way in India.  Then there is also the strategic element because there is concern in Southeast Asia and in Japan about a more assertive Chinese role and they all clearly want a closer relationship with the next big power in Asia which is India."

The bustling commercial center Mumbai is Mr. Obama's first stop. While there, he will meet with Indian and American business executives,  honor the victims of the 2008 terrorist attacks and hold a public discussion at a local university. He'll stay at The Taj Hotel, one of the targets of the terrorist attack.

In New Delhi, Mr. Obama plans to address parliament where he is expected to mention the need to achieve final implementation of the U.S.-India civil nuclear accord.

White House officials say Mr. Obama's visit to Indonesia, twice postponed earlier this year, will underscore the archipelago's importance as the world's largest Muslim majority nation and its success as a democracy.

In Jakarta, Mr. Obama plans to visit the Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in Indonesia, but due to a lack of time he will not visit the school he attended in Indonesia as a child, despite its personal significance to him.

Next stop - Seoul, South Korea, where preparations are already underway for the G-20 summit there, the first in an Asian nation. Mr. Obama will then head to Yokohama, Japan for the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit.

While in Seoul, Mr. Obama will hold talks for the seventh time with Chinese President Hu Jintao, and meet with U.S. troops to mark the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

Former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns argues that the U.S. needs to forge with China the kind of relationship it has with India and other Asian nations to ensure China's continuing rise is peaceful.

"It makes sense that the United States of America should commit itself to a long term strategic partnership, a sort of alliance, with India and Japan and other countries in the future, so that China's rise occurs in a peaceful, stable, Asia where the democratic powers remain very strong," Burns said.

President Obama returns home November 14 to a capital expected to be sharply changed by midterm congressional elections.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs