For Obama, a day of heavy diplomacy in Hawaii on economy, security

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is one of several leaders President Barack Obama met at the APEC Summit in Honolulu.

Associated Press

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is one of several leaders President Barack Obama met at the APEC Summit in Honolulu.

HONOLULU — Courting help from Asian powers, President Barack Obama sought Saturday to improve the American jobs outlook and contain deepening nuclear worries over Iran on a day of heavy diplomacy.

On the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific economic summit, Obama was to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. The timing for Obama is significant, particularly with Russia and China, as the United States tries to increase world pressure on Iran amid a fresh U.N. atomic agency report that Iran is working secretly on a nuclear weapon.

Obama is the host of the APEC gathering, a nonbinding forum that draws 21 nations from across a vast Asia-Pacific region — one that the U.S. president sees as vital toward expanding American trade and creating jobs. Obama chose to host the event in his home state of Hawaii to underscore his ties and economic commitment to the Pacific region, although security threats may dominate private meetings.

The president announced Saturday the broad outlines of an agreement to create a transPacific trade zone encompassing the United States and eight nations. He said details must still be worked out, but added: "I'm confident we can get this done."

He called the agreement a model for the Asia-Pacific region and for other trade pacts. Seated with the leaders of the eight other nations, Obama said the trade zone would increase U.S. exports and help create jobs, a top priority.

He said the U.S. is committed to shaping the future security and prosperity of what he called the "fastest-growing region in the world."

The eight countries joining the United States in the zone would be Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

For Obama, a day of heavy diplomacy in Hawaii on economy, security 11/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 12, 2011 10:33pm]

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