Business, Finance & Economics

Obama commences Asia-Pacific tour


US President Barack Obama.


Alex Wong

President Obama is embarking on a nine-day trip to the Asia-Pacific region on Friday to strengthen relations with US allies and tackle the economic prospectives in Asia.

Obama will be in Hawaii to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit over the weekend to push a trans-Pacific trade agreement. He will then spend the rest of the trip in Australia and Indonesia to strengthen alliances. His Pacific tour comes a week after he attended the G20 summit in France to urge European leaders to contain the eurozone debt crisis.

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Media reports describe the trip as symbolic of today’s outlook on the global economy.

The AFP: “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.”

Additionally, the tour is intended to assert that the US is a “Pacific power” that wants to help build economic success in the developing regions – and China in particular – amid recent aggressive diplomatic and military moves by the country that has worried its Asian neighbors, the Washington Post reported

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“This isn't a trip to the far-flung corners of Asia," Daniel Russel, Obama's senior director for Asian affairs, told the Associated Press. "This is a trip to the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. is very much an Asia-Pacific nation. We're a resident power." 

Obama will hold private meetings with leaders of Japan, Russia and China during the trip which will involve more intense diplomatic discussions, the AP reported.