Regarding President Obama’s November 17-20 junket to southeast Asia, Investors Business Daily (IBD) wrote:
So amid all the colorful and flirty photos from President Obama's first tour of Southeast Asia, what did he actually accomplish? As usual, he served himself politically in what was largely a Potemkin mission abroad.
While IBD’s assessment was of the more-sizzle-than-steak aspect of the trip, the president did manage to finesse the next huge trade agreement onto the fast track.
At a meeting last week in Cambodia chaired by President Obama, leaders from all the countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) approved a motion to set the end of 2013 as an informal deadline for the completion of the TPP in preparation for the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).
Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key, representing his nation at the conference, commented to the New Zealand Herald that he believed only a full summit would be sufficient to achieving the goal set by the president.
In additional to President Obama and Prime Minister Key, leaders from five other countries met at the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh that are parties to the TPP talks: Singapore, Brunei, Australia, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
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Photo of President Barack Obama: AP Images