Updated: 04/23/2014 10:03 | By Agence France-Presse

Obama heads on Asia tour, visits US disaster site

President Barack Obama met with survivors of a deadly landlside near Seattle before leaving on a weeklong tour of Asia in what the White House has called a "rebalancing" eastward of US foreign policy.


Obama heads on Asia tour, visits US disaster site

US President Barack Obama hugs US Senator Maria Cantwell after delivering remarks at the firehouse in Oso, Washington, April 22, 2014, following a tour of the devastation left by a recent mudslide - by Jim Watson

Obama left Andrews Air Force Base aboard Air Force One, and then made a stopover in Washington state to visit the scene of the landslide a month ago in Oso, some 95 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Seattle.

"There's still families who are searching for loved ones, families who have lost everything, it's going to be a difficult road ahead for them," the US president said after surveying damage from the disaster which buried two dozen homes and claimed more than 40 lives.

"I want to come here just to let you know that the country is thinking about all of you," Obama added, pledging that, with recovery operations still under way: "We're not going anywhere. We'll be here as long as it takes."

From there, the president's itinerary was to take him to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The visit is Obama's fifth to the region during his presidency.

During his travel, Obama will attempt to make progress in dragged-out negotiations over the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, and reassure potential partners that he can get it endorsed by a reluctant Congress.

Senior US officials have said both Japanese and US trade officials have been working to narrow gaps on market access in the auto and agricultural sectors that have slowed broader TPP talks.

In Seoul, Obama will hold talks with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye that focus on North Korea's belligerence. The US president will also attempt to ease tensions between Seoul and Tokyo.

- Rare Malaysia visit -

Obama will then travel to Malaysia, where he will become the first US president to visit since Lyndon Johnson traveled there in 1966 as part of an Asian tour designed to check the spread of communism.

Obama begins his Malaysia program with a state dinner on April 26. 

The following day, he holds talks with Prime Minister Najib Razak and visits the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur.

In one of the keynote moments of the trip, he also will host a town hall style meeting with young leaders across Southeast Asia at Malaya University.

On April 28, Obama will head to the Philippines for talks with President Benigno Aquino. He is scheduled to hold a joint press conference with Aquino, and be the guest of honor at a state dinner.

The US president will also lay a wreath at the World War II American cemetery.

China is not on the president's itinerary but is expected to loom large throughout his Asia visit because of its enormous reach as a regional economic and political behemoth. 

Born in Hawaii and raised for four years in Indonesia, Obama early in his presidency declared himself America's "first Pacific president" but his Asia agenda has been waylaid by recurring crises at home and in other parts of the globe.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。