Clinton arrives, Obama to follow

BANGKOK - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived at Don Mueang airport on Sunday morning as President Barack Obama is set to arrive later the same day on his first foreign trip since re-election, underscoring Asia's importance to US growth as his administration seeks to harness economic opportunities abroad.

  • Published: 18/11/2012 at 03:02 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

Mrs Clinton touted Asia's growth prospects in a speech on Saturday that mapped out a foreign policy focused more on economic strength than military might. Mr Obama's trip signals the US increased focus on Asia with the conflict in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan winding down, Mrs Clinton said in Singapore.

"Why is the American president spending all this time in Asia so soon after winning re-election?” she said, according to the transcript of a speech she gave as part of her third visit to the region since July. “Because so much of the history of the 21st century is being written here. America's expanded engagement in the region represents our commitment to help shape that shared future."

The trip comes in the middle of negotiations with Congress to avoid automatic spending cuts that would shock the economy and reduce defence outlays. Mrs Clinton sought to reassure leaders in Asia that US lawmakers would reach a deal to "once again prove the resilience of our economic system and reaffirm America's leadership in the world".

Mrs Clinton also encouraged Asian countries to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she said the US would combine with other regional trade agreements to reshape global commerce.

"We continue to consult with Japan, and we are offering to assist with capacity building so that every country in Asean can eventually join," she said. "We welcome the interest of any nation willing to meet the 21st century standards of the TPP -- including China."

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport on Sunday. (Photo by Surapol Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)

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