President Barack Obama left Washington on Saturday for a weeklong visit to Vietnam and Japan, his 10th trip to Asia since taking office.
Air Force One, the U.S. presidential jet, lifted off shortly after 1 p.m. local time for the long flight to Hanoi. After his jet makes two refueling stops along the way, Obama is due to touch down in the Vietnamese capital early Monday local time, or early Sunday afternoon in the U.S. capital.
A White House statement said the president's visit to Vietnam and Japan is intended to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to "rebalancing" relations with the nations of Asia and the Pacific region. His travel also is expected to increase U.S. diplomatic, economic and security engagement with those countries and peoples.
During his time in Japan, next Thursday and Friday, the president will stop at Hiroshima, where the world's first atomic bomb was detonated in combat, shortly before Japan surrendered to the United States to end World War II. Obama will be the first U.S. head of state to visit the A-bomb site.
Here is a brief summary of Obama's itinerary:
May 23-24: He will hold official meetings with Vietnam's leadership in Hanoi. Economic and security issues are expected to be high on the agenda. Obama also will deliver a speech on U.S.-Vietnam relations. During meetings and events in Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City, the president will discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, whose approval this year he sees as an important goal.
May 25: The president will travel to Japan.
May 26-27: Obama will take part in a summit of leaders of the Group of Seven, the world's biggest economic powers. The talks will be at Ise-Shima, a resort area in southeastern Japan, near Osaka.
May 27: After the summit, the president visit Hiroshima with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.