WASHINGTON - Although President Obama’s eight-day trip to Asia produced no tangible wins for the United States, he said talks with Asian allies could help create thousands of jobs and open new markets for American goods in the future.
Citing progress on a trip that took him from Tokyo to Seoul, Obama noted that “Asia is a region where we now buy more goods and do more trade with than any other place in the world - commerce that supports millions of jobs back home.’’
“I spoke with leaders in every nation I visited about what we can do to sustain this economic recovery and bring back jobs and prosperity for our people - a task I will continue to focus on relentlessly in the weeks and months ahead,’’ Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address yesterday.
The president pitched the trip as a way to reintroduce the United States to key trade partners, including China.
The Chinese government is the United States’ biggest foreign creditor with $800 billion of federal US debt, which gives it extraordinary power in the relationship. And Beijing feels the global recession vindicates its authoritarian leadership.
Obama told Americans that there can be no solutions to climate change or energy without the cooperation of Asian and Pacific nations. Repeating a theme he used abroad, Obama that said the discussions directly affect national security.
“We made progress with China and Russia in sending a unified message to Iran and North Korea that they must live up to their international obligations and either forsake nuclear weapons or face the consequences,’’ he said.
Obama’s trip included a town hall-style event with students in Shanghai and discussion about a coming climate summit in Copenhagen. He also prodded China to loosen restrictions on Internet access and increase freedoms of speech and religion.
Republicans, meanwhile, used their weekly radio and Internet address to slam health care legislation, saying it would increase taxes and raise medical costs.