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Obama to focus on Asian powers at G-20

world Updated: Jun 24, 2010 22:02 IST
US President Barack Obama

Keen to expand America's engagement with Asia, US President Barack Obama will spend a major part of his time at the upcoming G-20 summit in Toronto, focusing on America's ties with major Asian powers including India, China and Japan.

In fact, Obama has scheduled five of his six bilaterals on the sidelines of the G-20 summit with the leaders of India, China, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia.

White House officials say the US President wants to use this meeting as an opportunity to underscore America's commitment to leadership and increased engagement in Asia.

From the beginning of this administration, the President has placed a great priority on renewed American leadership and engagement in Asia, both on economic and security issues, a senior Administration official said.

"This is an eloquent demonstration of the importance that the president attaches to Asia, the importance of Asia to our political security and economic interest. It's an area of rising influence globally and emerging powers," another senior administration official said.

The official pointed out that Obama has important trips lined up to Asia in November -- around the next G-20 meeting to Korea, and then to India and Japan as well.

"So we see this is an opportunity to continue our efforts to renew our leadership in Asia, and to also move towards that trip later in the year," the official said.

Besides the Asian leaders, Obama would also have his first bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron during his Canada visit.

Canada will first host the Group of Eight meeting at a lake resort north of Toronto and later the discussions will expand to the G-20 on June 26 and 27.

Noting that South Korea is one of the closest allies of the US, the official said Washington is coordinating with the Asian countries extremely closely on a number of issues.

"We'll also have the opportunity, to have a bilateral meeting with President Hu (Jintao) of China," he said.

"We of course have been cooperating and coordinating closely with China on a number of leading priorities heading into this summit, both in terms of the global economy and in terms of security issues, particularly Iran sanctions".

The official said the meeting on Saturday will be a chance for the American and Chinese leaders to continue their consultations.

Thereafter, Obama is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the G 20 summit.

"This will be an important opportunity for the president to continue to foster the close relationship that he has with Prime Minister Singh," the official said.