Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obama in Asia

By Anthony Vasquez

President Barack Obama arrived in Japan Friday to kick off his nearly week-long Asia trip.

In all, Obama will visit four countries: Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea. He met with Japanese prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

He has now left Singapore and is in China. In Singapore he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, and a meeting of all the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This is the first time that a U.S. president met with all ASEAN heads of state, including Burmese prime minister Thein Sein. Obama urged the Burmese leadership to release opposition leader and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been in detention for 14 of the past 20 years.


  • Tokyo Nov. 13-14: Speech on further engagement with Asia and meeting with prime minister

  • Singapore Nov. 15: APEC summit, ASEAN meeting, meet with Singaporean prime minister lee Hsien Loong and separate meeting with Russian president Dmitri Medvedev

  • Shanghai Nov. 16: Town hall meeting with Chinese youth, meeting with mayor Han Zheng

  • Beijing Nov. 17-18: Meets with president Hu Jintao and prime minister Wen Jiabao, site-seeing

  • Seoul Nov. 19: Meets with president Lee Myung-bak and U.S. troops based there

Obama and Medvedev both demonstrated growing impatience with Iran over its nuclear program. Direct talks between Washington and Tehran began last October, but no meaningful gains on discouraging Iran to abandon nuclear weapons have been made.

Top issues to be discussed with Asian leaders will include the current state of the global economy and regional security. No major breakthroughs on the climate change front are expected. China and the United States are now the No. 1 and No. 2 carbon dioxide emitters worldwide, respectively.

Whitehouse officials say that issues Obama will raise with Chinese leaders this week include North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, human rights and climate change. North Korea’s nuclear program is of concern to many nations in the region, especially China and South Korea, which border the country. Pakistan and Afghanistan share a border with China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region

Related links+

The Wall Street Journal
Concerns Rise Around Obama Trip
By Jonathan Weisman
November 15, 2009
Includes "Obama Loses Patience with Iran" Reuters video (2:00).

Foreign Policy's The Cable Blog
Obama's Asia itinerary revealed
By Josh Rogin
November 9, 2009

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