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Obama to meet Indonesia leader during Beijing summit

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President Barack Obama will meet his Indonesian counterpart for the first time at next week's summit of Pacific leaders in Beijing, the White House said Friday.

[WASHINGTON] President Barack Obama will meet his Indonesian counterpart for the first time at next week's summit of Pacific leaders in Beijing, the White House said Friday.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Mr Obama also will meet with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, where leaders from the region seek to clinch a pan-Pacific trade deal.

The White House however downplayed hopes of much progress on the much-awaited Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would encompass 40 per cent of the global economy and include 12 nations. China is not a party to those negotiations.

The APEC leaders' summit that kicks off Monday in Beijing marks the biggest international meeting for host Xi since he took up his post in 2012.

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Ms Rice said Mr Obama's official state visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, would afford the two leaders various opportunities for dialogue.

"President Obama appreciates the opportunity to have candid and in-depth conversations with President Xi about our respective priorities given the breadth and the importance of the US-China bilateral relationship," Ms Rice said.

"We seek to build a relationship with China that advances American economic and security interests, that solves global problems and is true to American values and interests," she said.

Top US diplomat John Kerry attended the inauguration for Joko Widodo, a former furniture exporter who is the first Indonesian leader since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998 to come from outside the political and military elite.

On the sidelines of last month's swearing-in ceremony, Mr Kerry used a series of bilateral meetings to urge Mr Joko and other Southeast Asian leaders to take more action against the growing threat from Islamic State militants.

Following his stop in China, Mr Obama will travel to Myanmar for the East Asia Summit, followed by a stop in Australia for the G20 summit.

In Myanmar, he will meet with longtime opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon on November 14.

He also will hold a bilateral meeting with President Thein Sein during his November 12-14 stay in Myanmar.

Ms Rice confirmed that no formal meeting is currently planned between Mr Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

She hinted however at possible "informal communication" at the G20 summit between the two leaders, who have had strained relations over the crisis in Ukraine and other issues.

AFP

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