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Dec 4, 2014

Obama’s pick to head Pentagon not always on same page as president

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ashton Carter, a veteran Washington insider President Barack Obama is expected to name as his new defense secretary, built a reputation as a behind-the-scenes team player during many years in senior Pentagon posts.

But scrutiny of the 60-year-old former physicist’s views on issues ranging from North Korea to Iraq to defense spending also show an independent thinker whose opinions have not always aligned fully with those of the president.

Nov 21, 2014

Powerful U.S. pro-Israel lobby holds fire as Iran deadline looms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the United States and other powers negotiate down to the wire on a nuclear deal with Iran, one voice has been unusually quiet – the main pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

Israel deeply distrusts the attempt to reach a deal at talks in Vienna that would lift harsh international sanctions on Iran in return for limits to its nuclear program, aimed at preventing it from developing an atomic bomb.

Nov 16, 2014

Obama toughens line on Putin over Ukraine at G20 summit

BRISBANE Australia (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday that Russia would remain isolated by the international community if President Vladimir Putin continued to violate international law in Ukraine, some of his toughest remarks yet on the crisis.

Putin has come under intense pressure from other leaders at this weekend’s G20 summit in Brisbane over his government’s backing for pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine, where a conflict has killed more than 4,000 people this year.

Nov 16, 2014

U.S., Japan and Australia vow to oppose Russian action in Crimea

BRISBANE Australia (Reuters) – The leaders of the United States, Japan and Australia lined up together against Russia on Sunday, vowing to oppose Russian incursions into Crimea during a rare trilateral meeting held at the G20 summit in Brisbane.

President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said they would oppose “Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea and its actions to destabilize eastern Ukraine,” and were committed to “bringing to justice those responsible for the downing of Flight MH17.”

Nov 15, 2014

In veiled message to China, Obama renews commitment to Asia-Pacific pivot

BRISBANE Australia (Reuters) – President Barack Obama sought on Saturday to reassure Asia-Pacific allies about Washington’s strategic shift toward the region as he sent a veiled message to a rising China with a vow to “deepen our engagement using every element of our power”.

Speaking in Australia on the final stop of a three-country regional tour, Obama insisted that Asia’s security order must not be based on “coercion or intimidation … where big nations bully the small, but on alliances for mutual security”.

Nov 14, 2014

Obama says barring Suu Kyi from Myanmar presidency ‘doesn’t make much sense’

YANGON (Reuters) – Standing next to Myanmar’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that the law barring her from becoming president “doesn’t make much sense”.

It was the clearest statement Obama has made on Suu Kyi’s political future, but he stopped short of explicitly urging that changes be made to allow her to run for the presidency.

Nov 13, 2014

Obama optimistic on change in Myanmar, more work to be done

NAYPYITAW Myanmar (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was optimistic about political change in Myanmar and called on the country’s top politicians to push on with reform toward a free, inclusive and transparent election in 2015.

Myanmar began its emergence from international pariah status in 2011 when military leaders launched reforms after nearly half a century in power.

Nov 12, 2014

US, China sign symbolic emissions plan, play down rivalry

BEIJING, Nov 12 (Reuters) – The United States and China
announced a largely symbolic plan on Wednesday to implement new
limits on carbon emissions, the highlight of a summit between
Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in which both leaders played down
suggestions of differences and rivalry.

U.S. officials said the commitments by the world’s two
biggest carbon polluters came after months of backroom
negotiations and would set the tone for a global climate control
pact, but experts said the limits did not break significant new

Nov 12, 2014

Despite differences, Obama and Xi have intensive, cordial meeting

BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States and China announced an unprecedented joint plan on Wednesday to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, one of several agreements reached by President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping at intensive bilateral talks.

The United States and China have strong economic and commercial ties but have been at odds over everything from China’s pursuit of territorial claims in East and Southeast Asia to cyberspying, trade and human rights.

Nov 11, 2014

U.S. says will take tough line with China if norms violated

BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States will be “very clear” with China if it veers beyond the bounds of international norms on cybersecurity and other issues, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday ahead of a summit between the leaders of the two countries.

The comments by Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor, come at a time when Beijing is increasingly assertive and has been pushing to establish new regional institutions that it aims to lead, including a multilateral security forum and an Asian infrastructure investment bank.

    • About Matt

      "White House correspondent who has covered news on four continents for Reuters, from Latin American coups and drug wars to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles to the Balkans conflict to the second Palestinian Intifada to the Iraq war. He has covered George W. Bush and is now covering President Barack Obama."
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