Obama steers US towards focus on Asia

On his first foreign trip since Tuesday’s election, US President Barack Obama is planning a historic visit to encourage reforms in Myanmar – seen as a key success during his first term – and he’ll also go to Thailand and Cambodia. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will also head to Asia this month. While the timing is coincidental – Obama is attending the East Asia Summit in Cambodia – experts saw a powerful sign. … But Walter Lohman, director of the Asian studies centre at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said the US election and China’s leadership changes would not change the dynamics in ties between the world’s top two economies. … ‘Had he gone to Cambodia, a place that the Thais have had some ups and downs with, and not gone to see the US allies in Thailand, it would have been a disaster,’ Lohman said.