Obama to sign TPP deal with Philippines and Vietnam in APEC Summit
US President Barack Obama is heading for an Asian trip and is expected to join the APEC Summit in Manila to talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit, which will be attended by all Asia-Pacific leaders will be the center of Obama's attention to deliver a speech and convince leaders to sign the agreement.
There are 12 nations involved with the economic partnership from Asia to North America, however, China is not included in the agreement as Obama administration consider the country's economy is on a different level.
Bloomberg also reported that the success of this agreement will be the defining legacy for Barack Obama.
Walter Lohman, Director of Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center said that "TPP has long been the economic side of the president's rebalance. The region has been waiting for this to happen for some time and now it's upon us."
During Obama's visit, Philippines and Vietnam are expected to sign the agreement and will be among the first to do so according to the Strait Times.
Apart from gaining competitive advantage regarding the economic deal, the agreement will also help both countries to gain more support regarding its island dispute with China.
China has been claiming lots of islands as theirs lately, particularly those that located near oil or gas resources and those with a strategic location for shipping route. Dispute regarding island in the South China Sea also involves other countries including Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
Channel News Asia confirmed regarding the issue, citing that Vietnamese ambassador to the Philippines, Truong Trieu Duong told reporters that "We will deepen our cooperation in order to solve all the issues concerning the South China Sea."
The Philippines President, Benigno Aquino and Vietnamese President, Truong Tan Sang will be witnessing the pact signing between their countries and the US during the event.
The historic summit will also see Chinese President, Xi Jinping attending the summit as well. Jinping, however, insisted that the island dispute to be the center of discussion during the event while Obama's aides already stated that they will raise the issue there.
Obama is also expected to have one-on-one meetings with different countries leaders during the summit. Among them are leaders of Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and even the newly elected Canada Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Chinese President, Xi Jinping will not be attending any meeting with Obama as his scheduled is full while Russian President, Vladimir Putin is not attending the summit.