Obama Embarks on Asia-Pacific Mission

Posted November 11th, 2011 at 4:15 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama has departed on a nine-day trip aimed at improving U.S. ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr. Obama will first host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in his native state of Hawaii. He is expected to discuss a proposed Pacific Rim free trade zone that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Japan said Friday it will participate in the talks on the trade zone, boosting the chances of attracting other regional economic powers such as China.

After a brief stop in Australia, Mr. Obama will make his second presidential trip to Indonesia, where he spent part of his boyhood. During his visit, he will become the first U.S. president to attend the East Asia Summit, which will take place on the tourist island of Bali.

Analysts say Mr. Obama is also using the trip to reassure allies the U.S. will play a key role in the region and serve as a counterweight to China's rising status.