News / USA

Obama Asia-Pacific Trip Part of US 'Refocus' on Region

President Obama (file photo)
President Obama (file photo)

President Barack Obama leaves on Friday for Hawaii, where he will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation [APEC] leaders summit. The APEC meeting, along with Mr. Obama's travels to Australia and a summit of East Asian leaders in Indonesia, are part of the president's effort to reassure allies and economic partners of America's commitment to remain a major power in the Pacific region.

U.S. officials have sketched a multi-faceted effort by Mr. Obama to underscore U.S. economic and security engagements and the importance of key alliances that he will reinforce at the two summits, in bilateral talks, and his visit to Australia.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney recently spoke about another key purpose for the president's trip, to reinforce the link between the Asia-Pacific region, and U.S. economic recovery and job creation.

"The APEC summit as well as the East Asia summit, and the other elements of this trip reinforce this president's commitment to the kind of rebalancing and refocus that he has long-believed is necessary.  And it goes right on the economic front to his goal to double our exports and increase our trade, specifically with the countries in the Asia-Pacific region," Carney said.

Mr. Obama's first stop in San Diego, California to attend a Veterans Day holiday college basketball game on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.  Osama bin Laden's body was buried at sea from the carrier in May.

On Saturday in Hawaii, the president is scheduled to host a meeting of nine nations in APEC, negotiating a smaller emerging free trade group called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

APEC set a goal in 1994 of achieving free and open trade and investment in Asia-Pacific industrialized economies by 2010, and in developing economies no later than 2020.

The president will hold the first bilateral meetings of his trip, with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and Chinese President Hu Jintao.  Mr. Obama's state visit to Australia will spotlight the strength of the bilateral alliance on the 60th anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty.  He is scheduled to address Parliament in Canberra, visit Darwin in the north, and address Australian troops.   

Although White House officials will not confirm it, Mr. Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard are expected to announce a new agreement to give the U.S. military expanded access to Australian military bases.

In Bali next week, Mr. Obama will attend a series of bilateral meetings with regional leaders, beginning with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  

U.S. Asia-Pacific strategy includes an effort to encourage India's "Look East" policy.  Deputy Secretary of State William Burns spoke about it at a recent discussion here in Washington.

"The president has said that India will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.  We also want it to be one of the defining partnerships in the Asia-Pacific," Burns said.

In contrast to the APEC meeting, which will focus on economic issues, the East Asia summit will deal with political and security challenges.

Analysts say regional worries over Chinese intentions in the South China Sea will be among issues on the minds of leaders in Bali.

Michael Green of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies says the summit will be a delicate balance of concerns, sensitivities and agendas.

"What a lot of the members of the East Asia summit will want is for us to speak softly and carry a big stick [i.e., pursue diplomacy while maintaining U.S. military commitments].  They are going to want us to be clearly there maintaining a stable balance as they trade with China and with us.  But they are not going to want us to wave that stick in China's face and put them in a difficult position."

Mr. Obama is scheduled to return to Washington only a few days before a November 23 deadline for a congressional committee to agree on $1.2 trillion in government spending cuts, with wide-ranging implications for the U.S. economic recovery.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes says Mr. Obama knows that Asia-Pacific leaders will be watching the situation in Washington, but that Mr. Obama will bear assurances that the United States will continue to play an indispensable role in the region, even during a time of tight federal budgets.

You May Like

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

UN Tackles Illicit Wildlife Poaching Amid Cecil the Lion Uproar

The 193-member General Assembly adopts its first resolution on the issue following a two-year campaign by Germany and Gabon More

Trump Tops Poll as Rivals Battle to Make Debate

Donald Trump jumps into a big lead in Republican presidential race, according to latest poll More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs