A Global Summit In Asia (Without The United States)

The president of the United States is missing from a big summit of Asia-Pacific nations this week. China is happy to step in. We look at how the U.S. is doing in its pivot to Asia.

Photographers are reflected on the glass, background, as leaders of the Asia-Pacific region stand for a group photo session during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 (AP)

Photographers are reflected on the glass, background, as leaders of the Asia-Pacific region stand for a group photo session during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 (AP)

The government shutdown is reverberating across the globe. Especially in Bali. 21 national leaders are meeting for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit – or APEC –and President Obama is absent – missing the summit in a country where he lived as a boy. John Kerry is there instead, but there are questions. The pivot to Asia that President Obama kicked off years ago is losing ground in the face of distractions at home and abroad. Up next, On Point: Obama’s APEC absence and the economic implications.


Indira Lakshmanan, senior correspondent for Bloomberg News covering foreign policy, former Asia Bureau Chief for The Boston Globe. (@Indira_L)

Susan Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Program at the University of California-San Diego. She teaches at the UC-San Diego School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. (@IRPS)

Endy Bayuni, senior editor of The Jakarta Post.

From The Reading List

New York Times: Obama’s Absence Leaves China As Dominant Force At APEC — “The partnership, a major element of Mr. Obama’s pivot toward Asia, is intended to achieve open market access among the 12 participants, with the United States, Japan, Mexico and Canada as the major economies. The administration was hoping that the leader of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, would announce at the meeting that South Korea was ready to join the negotiations. But South Korean officials said Ms. Park would not make that declaration in Bali.”

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Seeks to Reassure Trade Partners After Obama Cancels Trip — “Mr. Obama has canceled major overseas visits to Asia in the past. In 2010 he called off trips to Indonesia and Australia amid a debate over health care at home and also the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Last year, he skipped APEC in Russia because it clashed with the closing stages of the presidential election campaign.But his administration has repeatedly affirmed the U.S.’s commitment to building stronger ties in the region, often referring to America as a Pacific power.Mr. Kerry said scrapping the trip upended an opportunity to build Mr. Obama’s dialogues with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and China’s President Xi Jinping.”

AP: With Obama Out, Others Take APEC Stage, Sort Of — “For Obama, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit was meant to be an opportunity to underline renewed U.S. attention to Asia as a counterbalance to China’s increased economic and military clout. But that message was undermined by the U.S. budget impasse and government shutdown forcing Obama to cancel his trip to Indonesia and three other countries. His absence was perhaps felt most by Indonesians who consider him one of their own after he spent part of his childhood growing up in the capital, Jakarta.”

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