'Pacific president' Obama behind diplomatic push

AP News
Posted: Sep 08, 2011 1:47 AM
'Pacific president' Obama behind diplomatic push

President Barack Obama has described himself as America's 'first Pacific president' _ and now Washington is trying to show it's serious about its regional role by sending its largest and highest-ranking delegation ever to a meeting of Pacific leaders.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides is leading a delegation of more than 50 in Auckland this week that includes military and treasury representatives as well as White House officials.

The U.S. can't attend official meetings because it is not one of the 15 Pacific forum nations, but diplomats are engaged in informal meetings.

Part of the increased U.S. interest here may lie in the fact that China has been making its presence felt in the region through significant economic and political investments.