Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama spent 90 minutes at the same table as Myanmar’s junta-installed Prime Minister Thein Sein and other Southeast Asian leaders as part of U.S. efforts to counter China’s influence in the region.
Obama, on his inaugural trip to Asia as president, yesterday became the first U.S. leader to meet the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. His predecessor, George W. Bush, scrapped a meeting with the bloc two years ago after Myanmar’s junta crushed the biggest anti-government protests since 1988.
“That the meeting took place at all” was “very significant” given U.S. concerns over Myanmar, said Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whose country hosted the gathering after the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
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Source: Edwin Chen and Julianna Goldman, "Obama meets leaders of
Asean, Myanmar to counter China's clout", November 15, 2009,