Obama stresses Asia role

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NEW YORK, Nov. 30 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking about his recent trip to Asia, said Wednesday people there are “incredibly hungry” for American leadership.

Attending a campaign event at in New York, the president said his meetings with Asia-Pacific leaders indicate U.S. foreign policy is pivoting to the fast-growing region. He said it has become fashionable in the United States to talk about America’s diminished world role but in the Asia-Pacific region “folks are incredibly hungry for American leadership.”

He said the United States is organizing a trade partnership with most of the major economies in the region and “everybody was eager to join because they recognize that America is willing to play by the rules and those rules can benefit everybody and not just some,” a White House transcript indicated.

Obama traveled to the region after hosting the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu.

While in Australia, he said the United States “is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay,” while assuring greater U.S. military involvement as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down.

“We were able to solidify security arrangements that assure freedom of passage and navigation, and help to underwrite the mutual security of the Asia Pacific region,” the president said Wednesday.

He said it was fascinating “how much people still look to America as a power that is not simply self-interested” but is also interested in the well-being of people outside its borders, and “not only projects military might but also projects values.”

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