President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama touched down in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday. The country is the third stop on the Obamas' 10-day tour of Asia that has already included visits to India and Indonesia. (Click here to read about the President's three-day stay in India.)
The President arrived in Seoul a day ahead of the Group of Twenty, or G-20, economic summit. The annual conference brings together leaders from 20 wealthy and developing nations and the European Union. They meet twice a year to address challenges that affect the global economy.
In a letter sent to the G-20 leaders on Tuesday, President Obama outlined the steps the U.S. government has taken to boost the U.S. economy. He urged other world leaders to work together, despite their differences, to improve the global market. "A strong recovery that creates jobs, income and spending is the most important contribution the United States can make to the global recovery," Obama wrote. "When all nations do their part . . . we all benefit from higher growth."
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Earlier on Wednesday, the President spoke to students at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital. Obama lived in the Southeast Asian island nation for four years as a child. "Let me begin with a simple statement: Indonesia is part of me," the President said in the native language as he addressed the cheering crowd.
In his speech, the President spoke of the time he spent in Indonesia as a young boy. Obama moved to the country to live with his mother and Indonesian stepfather when he was 6 years old. He recalled living in a small house with a mango tree in the front yard, and how he flew kites and caught dragonflies while running along the paddy fields. He reminisced about the birth of his half-Indonesian sister, Maya.
The President also praised the country for its efforts to combat Islamic extremism. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. He urged the Islamic world to stand united with the U.S. against terrorist acts committed by Muslim extremists. "I have made it clear that America is not and never will be at war with Islam," Obama said. "We can be defined by our differences and give in to a future of suspicion and mistrust . . . or commit ourselves to the steady pursuit of progress."
The President and First Lady also visited the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on Wednesday in an effort to rebuild relations with the Muslim world. The final leg of the Obama's Asian tour will be in Japan, where he will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.