14 Nov 2009

Obama to strengthen ties with Asia

8:16 am on 14 November 2009

United States President Barack Obama has begun a tour of Asia with a pledge to deepen America's engagement in the region.

The eight-day tour will take him to Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore, where he will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit at the weekend.

It is his first Asian tour as US leader and is aimed at reassuring key allies and boosting economic growth, the BBC reports.

After talks in Tokyo, Mr Obama stressed that the US remained an Asia-Pacific power and regarded the alliance with Japan as the foundation of security in the region.

Mr Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama agreed on the need to renew their two countries' strained alliance.

Mr Obama said their bond was based on shared values and interests but should be renewed for the 21st Century.

Mr Hatoyama said that, after 50 years, the alliance had to adapt to change.