President Barack Obama was in Indonesia Friday for talks with leaders from Asian countries, as the
United States looks to the region for ways to create jobs back home, according to dpa.
With its tremendous growth and growing middle classes, the Asia-Pacific region is a key market for US exports, his aides said.
As soon as Obama arrived in the resort island of Bali, the White
House announced commercial deals with Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei
which it said could support 127,000 US jobs. Starting his agenda in Bali, Obama witnessed the signing of a deal between The Boeing Company and Indonesia's Lion Air for the purchase
of 230 Boeing 737s worth 21.7 billion dollars.
The deal, which includes options for a further 150 aircraft valued at 14 billion dollars, represents one of the largest trade
transactions between the United States and Indonesia, the White House said.
"These cross-border collaborations, both public and private, underpin the expanding strategic partnership between the US and the Asia-Pacific, contributing to economic growth and development," the
White House said in a statement.
Lion Air director Edward Sirait said the planes would be delivered between 2017 and 2025.
"The deal is separate from 178 planes that we ordered previously,"
Sirait was quoted as saying by the detikFinance.com news website. "So
all together we have ordered 408 planes."
Obama arrived in Indonesia from Australia, where he announced an upgrade in a 60-year-old formal military alliance.
As part of the strengthened alliance, Australia has agreed to host 250 US Marines in the northern city of Darwin from next year, with
numbers rising to 2,500 within five years.
The arrangement is seen as an attempt by the US to counter China's growing assertiveness in the region as Washington asserts itself as a
On Friday, Obama was due to hold talks with leaders of the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as
with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The dispute between China and some ASEAN members over the South China Sea was expected to be on the agenda at Obama's talks with the
Tensions have risen between China, which lays an all-encompassing claim to the sea, and the Philippines, an ASEAN member.
The United States has no territorial claims in the South China Sea, a key shipping lane that is also believed to be rich in oil and
mineral resources, but has said it has a national interest in freedom of navigation.
China insists the dispute be resolved with each of the claimants bilaterally, and has urged the US not to interfere.
In July, ASEAN and China agreed on a non-binding set of guidelines to allow dialogue and cooperation. On Wednesday, ASEAN foreign ministers began working on a more binding code of conduct in the sea.
The South China Sea was also expected to be on the agenda at the
East Asia Summit on Saturday, even though China has made it clear it is opposed to such a discussion.
The summit includes ASEAN countries plus China, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Russia, Australia, India and New Zealand.