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Obama to visit Asia as issues smoulder

world Updated: Nov 11, 2009 08:51 IST

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Barack Obama this week makes his first trip to Asia as the President, leaving behind a host of domestic problems with a visit that recognizes the region’s economic and diplomatic importance to the United States.

The trip, which starts on Thursday, will take Obama to an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Singapore.

But the critical leg will come in China, where Obama will have to navigate an increasingly complex relationship with the
country that is the largest holder of US foreign debt and its second-largest trading partner.

“I see China as a vital partner, as well as a competitor," Obama told Reuters in an interview before the trip.
He will also visit Japan and South Korea.

North Korea, Iran, the global economy and trade, climate change, energy, human rights, Afghanistan and Pakistan are likely to get the most attention. Obama will also use a stop in Tokyo to speak broadly about his view of US engagement with Asia.