Obama touts Asia's role in US prosperity, security

JIM KUHNHENN
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U.S. President Barack Obama, front left, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, rear, tour the Viharn of the Reclining Buddha with Chaokun Suthee Thammanuwat, the Dean, Faculty of Buddhism Assistant to the Abbot of Wat Phra Chetuphon at the Wat Pho Royal Monastery in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

BANGKOK (AP) — President Barack Obama says it is "no accident" that he planned his first foreign trip to Asia after winning re-election.

Speaking at a news conference Sunday in Bangkok, Obama emphasized that the United States is a "Pacific nation." And he says the Asia-Pacific region will be crucial for creating jobs in the U.S. and shaping its security and prosperity.

Thailand is Obama's first stop on a three-day tour of Asia that will also take him to Myanmar and Cambodia.

Obama's praised Thailand for being a supporter of democracy in Myanmar, the once-pariah state that is rapidly reforming. He says he appreciated the Thai prime minister's insights into Myanmar during their meetings Sunday.