White House officials released details Wednesday of President Obama’s nine-day trip to the Asia-Pacific region to attend two economic summits, visit a military base in Australia and watch a college basketball game on an aircraft carrier in San Diego.
Obama is set to participate in both the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu this weekend and the East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia, from Nov. 17-19.
The first forum will focus on economic ties and growth in the region, and the second will center on security issues including nuclear nonproliferation, disaster relief and maritime security.
In between, Obama has scheduled a fundraiser in Honolulu on Monday and will spend two days in Australia, addressing a joint session of parliament in Canberra and visiting a military base in Darwin. In Darwin, the president is expected to announce a new military partnership that could involve expanded U.S. Marines presence at Australian bases to hold training and amphibious exercises, regional experts said.
Obama also will lay a wreath at a memorial to the USS Peary, a U.S. Navy destroyer during World War II that was attacked and sunk at Darwin Japanese bombers.
Obama will meet with several heads of state on the trip, including bilateral sessions with Chinese President Hu Jintao, new Japan Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, as well as the leaders of India, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
In Hawaii, the president also is set to speak with Boeing CEO W. James McNerney, Jr., about jobs and growth in the region, and attend a meeting of business leaders.
Obama will depart Washington on Friday after laying a wreath at the Arlington National Cemetery to mark Veterans Day. On the way to Hawaii, Obama will stop in San Diego to watch the Carrier Classic basketball game between Michigan State and North Carolina, which will take place aboard the USS Carl Vinson.
White House officials said the trip affords Obama the chance to renew the United States’s commitment to the region as a Pacific power interested in leading economic growth and establishing security to help emerging countries build healthy economies and democracies.
However, the trip will take the president out of Washington for more than a week during the runup to a critical Nov. 23 deadline for a congressionally appointed committee to develop a plan to eliminate at least $1.5 trillion from the U.S. deficit.
Advisors said Obama will receive regular briefings and use the trip to highlight ways that opening up export markets in Asia through new free trade pacts could create jobs and bolster the U.S. economy.