The Straits Times
Published on Nov 11, 2012

With new term, Obama doubles down on Asia


WASHINGTON (AFP) - After a convincing re-election victory, President Barack Obama looks set for another four years of reorienting the United States towards Asia at a time of uncertainty over a rising China.

In his first foreign trip since Tuesday's election, Mr Obama plans a historic visit to encourage reforms in Myanmar - seen as a key success during his first term - and will go to Thailand and Cambodia.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta will also head to Asia this month. While the timing is coincidental - Mr Obama is attending the East Asia Summit in Cambodia - experts saw a powerful sign.

"Actions speak louder than words; the visit shouts Obama's intent for a purposeful focus on Asia in his second term," said Mr Ernie Bower of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, pointing out that the trip is the first by a president solely to Southeast Asia since the Vietnam War.