[QODLink]
Americas
Obama prepares to host APEC summit
US president to meet leaders of Pacific Rim nations in Hawaii before commencing tour of economically crucial region.
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2011 08:40

 

President Obama, who was born in Hawaii and has lived in Indonesia, has been called the 'Pacific president' [AFP]

Barack Obama has set off on a nine-day Pacific tour meant to highlight America's economic profile in Asia and its deepening competition with China in the region.

The US president will host the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum in Hawaii on Saturday. After the conference, he will celebrate 60 years of security ties with Australia and make the first visit by a US president to the East Asia summit, set for Bali, Indonesia, next week.

As he welcomes Pacific Rim leaders to Hawaii for the group's annual summit, he will seek to make progress towards a multilateral trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, now involving 10 nations.

He will meet the leaders of China, Russia and Japan in Hawaii on Saturday, and is likely to press for tougher sanctions on Iran in light of new revelations on its nuclear programme.

A two-week interlude of foreign policy in Obama's increasingly domestically focused administration offers a symbolic contrast between struggling Europe, where America has its historic roots, and Asia which may define its future.

It will also underscore the growing competition between the US, a Pacific power for more than half a century, and rising China.

'Pacific president'

Obama, who was born in Hawaii and spent boyhood years in Indonesia, has dubbed himself America's first "Pacific president".

He will seek to stress that America is at a pivot point, as it leaves Iraq this year and draws down in Afghanistan and seeks to concentrate more on East Asia, aides said.

Obama's journey, which comes at a time when he is politically vulnerable at home, is being billed as an effort to ensure that the US remains a dominant player in Asia, a region that could dictate its economic future.

After APEC, Obama will head to Australia for an overnight stay in Canberra where he will meet Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister, and address parliament.

Obama is also expected to say that the US will station troops in the northern Australian city of Darwin, which he will also visit.

The president will travel on November 18 to Bali, Indonesia, where he will become the first US president to take part in the East Asia Summit, comprised of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, Australia,
India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US.

The trip amounts to Obama's most extensive travel of the year.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.