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Obama trip to Asia

By United Press International
Obama trip to Asia
U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in honor of Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia on November 11, 2009. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

TOKYO, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama heads off on a weeklong trip to several Asian countries looking for financial and diplomatic support.

Obama has stops in Singapore, China, South Korea and Japan planned. The first stop is Tokyo, where the U.S. president is to meet with Japan's emperor and the prime minister. The last scheduled site on the itinerary is South Korea, where up-and-down North Korean relations are likely to lead the conversation.

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The Singapore visit is for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting but a sidebar with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev regarding responses to Iran's nuclear program could be the most important of the stopover. In China, Obama will likely be focused on Beijing's financial power and how it can be tweaked -- such as allowing the yuan to float in relative value -- to help the U.S. economy recover.

It will be interesting to see if Obama makes an unannounced visit to Afghanistan at the end of the nine-day foray. He may wish to speak directly with Afghan leaders and U.S. military commanders about his upcoming decision on U.S. troop commitments.

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