Barack Obama: The Pacific President?

U.S. President Barack Obama has called himself "America's first Pacific President," referring not only to his Hawaiian birthplace but also to his desire to put Asia back in the center of American foreign policy. In recent months there has been a new emphasis on Asia in American foreign and economic policy, ranging from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's tough words on the South China Sea to growing concern over China's currency policy. Most recently, American officials have been responding to tensions in the East China Sea between American ally Japan and China.

In early November, President Obama embarks on an important tour of Asia that will certainly mark a key moment in his claim to a Pacific Presidency. The President begins with a trip to India, a key rising power in Asia, followed by a stopover in his childhood home, Indonesia. The President will then head to South Korea for a meeting of the G20, with the trip culminating in Japan and the annual summit meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Yokohama. The United States will host the APEC summit in 2012 in Hawaii.