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Obama’s Asia itinerary revealed

Obama’s Asia itinerary revealed

Here is President Obama’s full itinerary for his trip to Asia, as conveyed by Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, Jeffrey Bader, NSC senior director for East Asian affairs, and Michael Froman, deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs:

"The overarching theme is that America is a Pacific nation, it understands the importance of Asia in the 21st Century, and it’s going to be engaged in a very comprehensive way," said Rhodes.

"I think it’s a common perception in the region that U.S. influence has been on the decline in the last decade while Chinese influence has been increasing," said Bader.

Thursday, November 12: Alaska

President Obama departs Washington, DC and flies to Alaska, where he will speak to soldiers at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The schedule was changed to allow Obama to attend the memorial service at Fort Hood Texas on Tuesday. Leaving Alaska Thursday evening for Tokyo.

Friday, November 13: Tokyo

Obama arrives in Tokyo and holds a bilateral meeting with new prime minister Yukio Hatoyama at 7PM, followed by a joint press conference. He’ll be looking to build personal ties with the new leader, whose Democratic Party of Japan took power in a stunning August election. "This government is looking for a more equal relationship with the United States, we are prepared to move in that direction," Bader said. Don’t expect any breakthroughs on the dispute over U.S. basing in Okinawa.

Saturday, November 14: Tokyo Day 2

Obama will give a speech at Suntory Hall at 10 AM, giving "his view of American engagement in Asia." Then he will have an audience with the Japanese Emperor Akihito and his wife Empress Michiko. Leaving Saturday night for Singapore.

Sunday, November 15: Singapore

First, Obama will have a bilateral meeting with Singapore president Lee Hsien Loong, followed by the APEC summit leaders’ meeting. At 2PM, there will be a bilateral meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. Later in the afternoon, Obama will have a multilateral meeting with all 10 leaders of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which will for the first time see American and Burmese leaders in the same room. "We’re not going to let the Burmese tail wag the ASEAN dog," said Bader, saying that the previous policy of freezing out Burma has preventing U.S. interactions with ASEAN. Obama will also have a bilateral meeting with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Leaving Sunday evening for Shanghai.

Monday, November 16: Shanghai

Obama will start the day meeting with Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng. After that, he will have a dialogue with Chinese youth and then will travel to Beijing to have dinner with Chinese president Hu Jintao. "We’ve have a smooth transition in the U.S.-China relationship… the relationship is off to a good start," said Bader. Issues that will get the most attention are North Korea, Iran, climate change, human rights, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. "Clean energy is something where we expect to have some accomplishments to show," Bader said.

Obama will not stop by the sight of the Shanghai Expo 2010 and no comment on whether Obama will visit his half-brother Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo, who lives there.

Tuesday, November 17: Beijing

There will be a morning bilateral meeting with Hu, followed by a joint press conference. Then, Obama will tour Beijing hot spot before his state dinner. Obama will raise various human rights issues directly with Hu, Bader said, including Tibet, and that message was not undercut by Obama’s decision not to meet with the Dalai Lama in Washington last month. "The president has made it clear that he is ready to meet with the Dalai Lama in the future at the appropriate time," Bader said.

Wednesday, November 18: Beijing Day 2:

Obama meets with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao  and do some more sightseeing. Also, "We do not expect that Beijing is going to produce a climate change agreement," said Froman.  That evening, Obama will leave for Seoul, South Korea.

Thursday, November 19: Seoul:

Obama will have a morning bilateral meeting with President Lee Myung-Bak, followed by a press conference.  He will then visit U.S. troops in South Korea before heading back to the United States that evening. No real expectation on movement on the U.S-Korea Free Trade Agreement. "He has noted in the past that there are some outstanding issues… he is prepared to have that conversation with the Koreans," said Froman.