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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid