‘Obama’s Asia trip underscores re-engagement strategy’

Thursday, October 28, 2010

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama’s visit to Asia next month underscores his Asia strategy of renewed engagement, a top aide has said.

According to Xinhua, US engagement in Asia is “founded upon our core alliances in the region, and of course South Korea and Japan are at the top of that list”, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes told reporters at a White House briefing Thursday.

Obama will start his visit to India, Indonesia, North Korea and Japan Nov 6.

Rhodes said the visit to Indonesia is meant to “deepen partnership with emerging power”, and added that Obama will deliver a speech there on his outreach effort to the Muslim world Nov 10.

Due to several reasons, Obama had postponed visits to Indonesia for three times, which has somewhat angered the southeast Asian country for lack of respect.

In September, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono did not attend a summit between the US and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in New York, citing “domestic reasons”.

Rhodes stressed the importance of Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country, saying it is the intersection of a lot of key American interests.

“We see this as a partnership that is very important to the future of American interests in Asia and the world,” he said.

Obama’s visit to Indonesia and his speech there is designed to continue his effort to improve America’s image in the Muslim world, the report said.

Obama, since his first day in office, has been actively trying to restore US engagement and influence in Asia, especially in southeast Asia, which is more or less ignored by the previous Bush administration.

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