Obama Says U.S. Seeks to Build Stronger Ties to China

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TOKYO — The United States is not threatened by a rising China, President Obama said Saturday, but will seek to strengthen its ties with Beijing even as it maintains close ties with traditional allies like Japan.

In a wide-ranging speech on his first trip to Asia as president, Mr. Obama drew on his own background to reassure the people of the fast-growing continent that even as the United States seemed preoccupied with conflicts in the Middle East and other regions, it was increasingly “a nation of the Pacific.”...

... “My own life is part of that story,” he said. “I am an American president who was born in Hawaii and lived in Indonesia as a boy. My sister Maya was born in Jakarta and later married a Chinese-Canadian. My mother spent nearly a decade working in the villages of Southeast Asia, helping women buy a sewing machine or an education that might give them a foothold in the world economy.”

“So,” he added, “the Pacific rim has helped shape my view of the world.” He even spoke of his first trip to Japan as a boy—“As a child, I was more focused on the matcha ice cream,” he said.

That drew laughs from the audience, which gave him a standing ovation both before and after his speech.

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