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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More