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Obama on maiden four-nation trip to Asia next month

By Lalit K Jha
October 08, 2009 03:10 IST
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US President Barack Obama will embark on his maiden trip to Asia mid-November when he will travel to China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that Japan will be the first stop in his four-nation sojourn beginning November 11.

"The president's visit will provide an opportunity to deepen coordination with this key ally on a range of economic, security and other issues," Gibbs said, adding that Obama would meet the new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama for the second time, the first one being on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Session in New York last month.

From Japan, Obama will travel to Singapore for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting from November 13- 15. APEC is an important forum that brings together the economies of the Pacific Rim and Singapore is an important partner on a range of regional and global issues, Gibbs said. "He will meet with leaders from the APEC member economies and business leaders from the Asian-Pacific region. He will also take the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with leaders from Singapore and other partners," Gibbs said. Obama will also hold his first-ever meeting between a US President and leaders of the 10 southeast Asian nations that make up the ASEAN-- Association of Southeast Asian Nations, he said. 

The US President will then travel to China, where he will visit Beijing and Shanghai from November 15-18. "The President will hold his third bilateral meeting with (the Chinese) President Hu Jintao to discuss ways to address challenges and expand cooperation on key bilateral, regional and global issues, including security, nonproliferation, energy and climate change," he said.
Seoul would be his final destination of his Asian trip, during which he has skipped the trip to Indonesia where he spent considerable part of his childhood. "The President will visit Seoul on November 18th through the 19th. And this visit will provide an opportunity to hold his third bilateral meeting with President Lee and consult on North Korea, to coordinate on a range of regional and global issues and to further strengthen the US-Korean alliance," he said.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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