Obama Heading Home after Asian Tour

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President Barack Obama with China's Premier Wen Jiabao, center, at the East Asia Summit Gala dinner in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 18, 2011.

U.S. President Barack Obama is on his way home Saturday, after a nine-day Asia-Pacific tour that took him to Hawaii, Australia and Indonesia for a summit of East Asian leaders.

Just hours before Air Force One departed from Bali, Indonesia, Mr. Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit to discuss economic issues between the two countries.


White House officials said Mr. Obama stressed the importance of China adjusting the value of its currency, which Washington says is deeply undervalued.

The two leaders also talked about freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the South China Sea, and the peaceful resolution of disputes there. Earlier, Mr. Wen warned against what he called outside interference in the dispute, which also involves the Philippines, Vietnam and some other Asian countries.

On Friday, President Obama met with his Indonesian counterpart, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The two announced a $600 million pact to support sustainable development, public health and improved public services in Indonesia. On Thursday, Indonesia’s Lion Air signed a deal to buy 230 Boeing 737 planes, worth close to $22 billion.

Mr. Obama also met with leaders of the Philippines and Malaysia Friday before an East Asia Summit dinner, which he attended dressed in traditional Indonesian clothes.

His first bilateral meeting was with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Mr. Obama said both nations see the East Asia Summit as the premier arena to work together on issues ranging from maritime security and nonproliferation to expanded cooperation on disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

He arrived in Indonesia Thursday, after a stop in Australia, where he signed an accord to deploy up to 2,500 U.S. troops in the country’s north to boost regional security. China promptly objected to the deal.

Mr. Obama told Australia’s parliament in Canberra that developments in the Asia-Pacific region will largely define the century ahead and that the U.S. presence there is his administration’s top priority.