News / Asia

Obama Meets with Asian Leaders

President Barack Obama with China's Premier Wen Jiabao, center, at the East Asia Summit Gala dinner in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 18, 2011.
President Barack Obama with China's Premier Wen Jiabao, center, at the East Asia Summit Gala dinner in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 18, 2011.

U.S. President Barack Obama has held talks with Asian leaders attending the East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Obama's purpose on this Asia-Pacific trip has been to signal that the U.S. is "here to stay" as a Pacific power, intent on strengthening its political, economic and strategic engagement with the region.

But the U.S. is also encouraging the steadily increasing economic and security stake that India, the world's largest democracy, has in the Pacific. Thus the first bilateral meeting on Obama's schedule was with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Obama said both nations see the East Asia Summit as "the premier arena" to work together on issues ranging from maritime security and nonproliferation to expanded cooperation on disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

Prime Minister Singh gave a diplomatically upbeat assessment of relations. He also said India’s parliament will soon consider liability laws to address the concerns of America nuclear power companies, which have held up the implementation of the two countries’ civilian nuclear deal.

“Therefore we have gone some ways to respond to the concerns of the American companies," said Singh. "And within the four concerns of the law of the land, we are willing to address any specific grievance."

Obama also met with the leaders of the Philippines and Malaysia, and later with host nation Indonesia, before joining the U.S.-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) meeting and an East Asia Summit dinner.

Major announcements

Before any of the day's carefully-staged diplomatic events, President Obama was able to point to a major $22 billion deal involving the sale of more than 200 Boeing Company passenger jets to Indonesia's largest domestic carrier Lion Air. The deal would support some 110,000 jobs in the United States.

But the big story Friday was the president's announcement of a major new diplomatic outreach to Burma, dominated for decades by the military but moving in recent months toward political reform.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Burma next month to "explore" possibilities for improving relations. With Clinton by his side, he called it an opportunity for Burma's government to demonstrate it is serious about reform.

"We remain concerned about Burma's closed political system, its treatment of minorities, and holding of political prisoners and its relationship with North Korea," said Obama. "But we want to seize what could be a historic opportunity for progress and make it clear that if Burma continues to travel down the road of democratic reform it can forge a new relationship with the United States of America."

Obama said he would deliver the same messages to Burma's President Thein Sein during Friday's U.S-ASEAN meeting. ASEAN leaders have approved Burma to head the 10-member organization in 2014.

Senior White House officials said Secretary Clinton is scheduled to arrive in Burma on December 1 and spend two days meeting with government and civil society leaders, and with Aung San Suu Kyi.

The president said he had his first conversation with Burmese opposition leader and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, while he was flying to Bali from Australia, saying they reviewed progress in Burma.

Obama said Burma's government has taken positive steps to open the political process, loosen media restrictions and release some political prisoners. He said Aung San Suu Kyi supported U.S. engagement aimed at moving the reform process forward.

President Obama came to Bali after a visit to Australia during which the countries announced a major enhancement of their 60 year security alliance and a plan to substantially increase U.S. military access to Australian bases.

That agreement, which brought a cool reaction from China, along with regional concerns about China's security assertiveness and tensions over rival claims to the South China Sea, form the backdrop for this East Asia Summit.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs