Obama’s Asia trip highlights region’s growing global importance

Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama will meet on U.S. Veterans Day with Chinese President Hu Jintao — while both men are in South Korea — as part of a hectic schedule of summit meetings, news conferences and cultural events on his upcoming four-nation trip to Asia, top administration officials said Thursday.

The 10-day trip to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan encompasses a G-20 summit, an Asia-Pacific Economic Council summit, major holidays in India and Indonesia and bilateral talks with Hu and at least five other leaders, as well as four presidential news conferences, the officials told reporters.

It’s all part of an administration focus on Asia as a vital region for expanding trade and fighting terrorism, said Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

“If you look at the trend lines in the 21st century, the rise of Asia, the rise of individual countries within Asia, is one of the defining stories of our time,” Rhodes said, later adding, “We see core U.S. national interests that will be advanced by us playing a key role in helping to shape the future of the region and making clear that we’re an Asian and a Pacific power.”

After three days in India to start the trip, Obama heads to Indonesia to meet with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and attend a state dinner in the nation where he spent part of his childhood.

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