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

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid