NEW: Leaders from 19 nations meet at APEC conference in Hawaii
Obama seeks a new era in foreign policy focusing on Asia
He has met with his Japanese, Russian and Chinese counterparts
U.S. President Barack Obama ended his trip to this weekend’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit stressing job creation – calling the Pacific region vital to such economic growth, even as he needled China to do more.
For U.S. President Barack Obama, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit was an opportunity to push for renewed engagement with Asia, seeking to highlight domestic jobs that increased exports to the region would create.
The summit wrapped up late Sunday afternoon, with a “class photo” involving those representing all 21 nations in APEC.
Obama used the event – the first involving nations from both sides of the Pacific to be hosted in U.S. territory since Bill Clinton’s presidential administration – as a kickoff for a new era in foreign policy focusing on the region.
Still, for him and others, the economic crisis in Europe remained a central concern.
“I was pleased to see that European leaders were taking seriously the need to not just solve the Greek crisis, but also to solve the broader eurozone crisis,” Obama said during a session.
During the weekend, Obama also emphasized the need for the United States to court foreign investment, despite leading the world in that area.
The president also emphasized the U.S. need to court foreign investment, despite leading the world in that area.
“We’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades,” Obama said. “We’ve kind of taken for granted that people will want to come here, and we aren’t out there trying to sell America and attract new businesses into America.”
CEOs of Johnson & Johnson, Caterpillar and Google passed when asked to comment on the president’s characterization of the problem, though Eric Schmidt of Google said “lazy” is not the word he would have used.
The only APEC leaders not in attendance were from Thailand and Mexico, which sent lower-level representatives as their heads of state dealt with flooding and, in the case of Mexico, the death of its interior minister.
Over the weekend, Obama met personally with Hu, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
With Medvedev, the president discussed economic issues and Iran, which a recent International Atomic Energy Agency report finds to be closer to having the capacity to make nuclear weapons. Russia has expressed skepticism of the findings.
“We discussed Iran and reaffirmed our intention to work to shape a common response so we can move Iran to follow its international obligations when it comes to its nuclear program,” Obama said, revealing few specifics.
In his meeting with Hu, the president addressed currency manipulation and protecting U.S. intellectual property from illegal use by Chinese companies and the government.
“He made it very clear that the American people and the American business community were growing increasingly impatient and frustrated with the state of change in China economic policy and the evolution of the U.S. China economic relationship,” Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser told reporters at a briefing Saturday night in Honolulu.