United States President Barack Obama is now officially set to visit Asia this coming April to encourage bilateral relations with different allies in the region. His itinerary will include a visit to Japan and South Korea, according to a spokesperson from the White House.
Obama’s visit to Japan hopes to re-establish closer bilateral relations between the two countries in light of regional threats such as North Korea and China. Obama will hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and discuss issues affecting security and economy. Part of the talks would include finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement and others that would “expand our cooperation on a range of diplomatic challenges in Asia and globally,” said the White House. No date has been settled yet as to when Obama will set for Japan but as early as now, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has invited the president as a state guest to meet with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko as well. However, this has yet to be confirmed.
Obama will also stop in South Korea to meet with President Park Geun-Hye and hold talks on encouraging denuclearization and recent updates regarding North Korea. A talk on a bilateral free trade pact will also be part of the discussions in the meeting. After South Korea, Obama will head to Malaysia to talk with Prime Minister Najib Razak and finally to the Philippines to meet with President Benigno Aquino. His Asian trip comes after a pledge in 2011 that his administration will make the Asia-Pacific region a “top priority” in its missions. This visit will be the third for Obama since becoming president in 2009. He first went to Japan in November 2009 and came back in November 2010 to attend a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.
[via Global Post]