Obama Should Add Seoul to His Asia Itinerary
January 31, 2014
President Obama has promised to rebalance U.S. foreign policy to the Asia-Pacific region. It did not help that he had to cancel a trip to the region in October so that he could deal with the government shutdown, but the White House made the right move by announcing that he would make up for it with a trip in April.
The full itinerary has not been announced, but Obama is expected to visit Japan, the Philippines and Malaysia. Those stops make sense: Japan is the biggest U.S. ally in the region; our ally the Philippines was clobbered by Typhoon Haiyan and needs reassurance in the face of Chinese pressure over territorial disputes; and Malaysia is emerging as a major trade and potential diplomatic partner. The president held a long summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping last summer in California and will travel to Beijing in the fall for a regional summit, so there is no need to go to China this time.
So what about South Korea?
*This article first was published in the January 30 Washington Post Opinions page and is available online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obama-should-add-seoul-to-his-asia-itinerary/2014/01/30/85d37c4e-8841-11e3-a5bd-844629433ba3_story.html ©The Washington Post Company.