President Obama Tells Summit US Still Committed to Asia
U.S. President Barack Obama has addressed the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO summit, telling business leaders that the United States is entirely committed to Asia.
President Obama arrived in the Chinese capital Monday morning. He is attending the APEC summit over the next three days.
U.S. officials see the meeting as a way to set rules that will prevent conflicts in the region, while making progress on trade, cyberspace and climate issues.
In his speech to the business leaders, Mr. Obama announced a new visa policy with China Monday that will take effect this week:
Barack Obama said: "I'm very pleased to announce that during my visit the United States and China have agreed to implement a new arrangement for visas that will benefit everyone from students, to tourists, to businesses large and small. Under the current arrangement, visas between our two countries last for only one year. Under the new arrangement, student and exchange visas will be extended to five years, business and tourist visas will be extended to ten years."
The American president also promoted Washington's plans for a 12-nation "Trans-Pacific Partnership." The plan is controversial because it excludes China and competes with Beijing's plans for an Asia free trade zone.
But, at the same time, Mr. Obama stressed the importance of economic cooperation between the two nations. Barack Obama said: "If China and the United States can work together, the world benefits and that's something this audience is acutely interested in. (Applause). We continually have to work to strengthen the bilateral trade and investment between our two nations."
The president is expected to have dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Asia-Pacific leaders and then attend a fireworks show.
The United States is concerned about the continuing trade deficit, cyber issues and Chinese maritime claims in the East and South China seas. President Obama wants to dispel the impression among Chinese leaders that the U.S., through the rebalance of its forces to the Pacific, is trying to contain China.
Mr. Obama will depart Beijing on Wednesday for his second visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma. There, he will attend two East Asian summits before going to Australia for a gathering of the G20.
Egyptian Militants Pledge Allegiance to IS
The Islamic State leader has won the allegiance of Egypt's deadliest militant group.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis pledged its loyalty Monday to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The Egyptian jihadist group announced their support on its Twitter account where it referred to Baghdadi as "caliph" and urged other Muslims to support him.
Senior Iraqi officials reported Sunday that Baghdadi had been wounded in an airstrike, but the U.S. Defense Department says it has no such information.
Iraqi Defense Minister Khalid al-Ubaydi purportedly issued a message on his Facebook page confirming that Baghdadi was wounded in a U.S. airstrike Friday in the northern city of Mosul.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry also confirmed the news to the Associated Press. Various other reports claim the airstrike killed one of Baghdadi's close aides.
Earlier Sunday, Britain's senior military officer warned that even if the reports are true, the Islamic State will regenerate its command. British Chief of Defense Staff Nick Houghton said that even if Baghdadi were killed, he would not rush to the conclusion that it would be a "strategic reverse" for the insurgents.