HM the King receives Obama
BANGKOK - His Majesty the King granted an audience to United States President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Ambassador Kristie Kenney on Sunday afternoon at Siriraj Hospital.
- Published: 18/11/2012 at 08:02 PM
- Newspaper section: news
After arriving at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport just after 3pm, Mr Obama met a group of Thai officials, including His Majesty the King's representative Gen Surayud Chulanond.
United States President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visit Wat Pho. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
The re-elected president and his entourage then met 600 members of the US embassy staff and later visited Wat Pho, a temple renowned for its giant reclining Buddha statue.
He was then granted an audience with His Majesty, followed by an official dinner hosted by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House.
Mr Obama, who is on a three-nation Asian tour, will spend the night in the Thai capital before travelling Monday to Myanmar, where he will be the first US president to visit the former pariah state. After that visit he will attend the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh.
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."
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- Writer: Bangkok Post, dpa and Bloomberg