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Daily Archives: November 6, 2008

Asian leaders voice hopes over Obama

Image   Asian  leaders  spoke  of  their  desire  for closer ties with the United States  and  voiced  hope  that  America  will  play a positive  international  role after Ba-rack Obama’s historic election triumph yesterday.

China’s President Hu Jintao said he hoped  bilateral  ties  could  reach  new  highs while  Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso pledged  to  work  with  Obama  to  strengthen  relations. In  Australia,  Prime  Minister  Kevin  Rudd  praised the president-elect for turning Martin Luther King’s dream  into a reality, and  said the world looked to America for leadership. “Forty-fve  years  ago  Martin  Luther  King  had a dream of an America where men and  women would be  judged not on  the colour  of  their  skin  but  on  the  content  of  their  character,” Rudd told reporters. “Today what America has done is turn that  dream into a reality. ”China’s  Hu  said  a  closer  relationship  between  Beijing  and Washington  would  be  “for  the  beneft  of  Chinese  and  American  people, and people around the world.” “In  a  new  historical  era,  I  look  forward  to…  taking  our  bilateral  relationship  of  constructive  cooperation  to  a  new  level,”  he said in a written message, according to
a statement on the Chinese foreign ministry’s website. Japanese leader Aso, who heads the world’s  second-biggest economy, stressed his hope
that the United States will play a key role on  the global stage. “As  the world confronts a multitude of serious challenges,  I believe  that  the US will  continue to make signifcant advancements  under the able leadership of president-elect  Obama,  in  cooperation  with  the  interna-
tional community,” Aso said. “I will strive to further strengthen the Japan- US alliance and to resolve various challenges  the  international  community  faces  when  addressing  issues  such  as  the  international economy, terrorism and the environment.” Aso is reportedly arranging a meeting with  Obama next week when he visits Washington to attend a summit on the fnancial crisis. Obama  is  supportive  of  the US-Japan
alliance but also favours boosting ties with  Beijing. In  war-torn  Afghanistan,  where  tens  of  thousands  of  US  troops  are  fghting  Tali-
ban militants, President Hamid Karzai said  Obama’s win took the world into a “new era  — an era where race, colour and ethnicity, I  hope, will also disappear… in politics in the  rest of the world. ”Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said  he  hoped US  foreign  policy would  change
tack under Obama. “Malaysia…  hopes  Obama’s  government  will  be  more  sensitive  to  the  sovereignty  of smaller nations and will not use force in  resolving  global  conficts,”  Rais  said  in  a  statement. “Obama’s  victory  is  seen  as  a  bringing  change and hope to the world,” he added. India’s ruling Congress party said Obama’s “youthful energy” was  in tune with the dynamism  of  the  emerging  country,  adding it was  confdent  that  rapidly warming  ties would grow  stronger under Obama’s  leadership. A  statement  from South Korea’s presidential  palace  expressed  the  hope  for  further development  of  relations  with  the  United States, which has  28,500  troops  stationed in the country.
Elsewhere  in  Asia,  Philippine  President Gloria Arroyo’s spokesman Lorelei Fajardo said Manila looked forward to greater cooperation with Washington, which  has  close military ties with the country. And Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono  said  he  hoped  the  leadership change  would  boost  the  fght  against  the global economic crisis.

More on pages 7, 14, 15

World hails Obama’s ‘brilliant’ victory

World leaders hailed Barack Obama's triumph yesterday in the US presidential election as the start of a new era but there were also calls for the global superpower to change the way it does business.
Celebrations erupted in capitals around the world. A national holiday was declared in Kenya — where Obama's father was born — to welcome the first black US president.
"Your brilliant victory rewards a tireless commitment to serve the American people. It also crowns an exceptional campaign whose inspiration and exaltation have proved to the entire world the vitality of American democracy," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a letter to Obama.
"By choosing you, the American people have chosen change, openness and optimism," added Sarkozy as a flood of congratulatory messages went to the 47-year-old senator on his historic victory over Republican candidate John McCain.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown praised Obama's "energising politics… his progressive values and his vision for the future". German Chancellor Angela Merkel reinforced the importance her government put on "our transatlantic partnership."
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso pledged to work with the new US leader to strengthen relations.
Indian Premier Manmohan Singh called it an "extraordinary" victory and invited Obama to visit India and Mexican President Felipe Calderon urged Obama to visit the United States' southern neighbour.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Obama's victory was a landmark for equality.
"Forty-five years ago Martin Luther King had a dream of an America where men and women would be judged not on the colour of their skin but on the content of their character," Rudd told reporters. "Today what America has done is turn that dream into a reality."
But European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso called for the election to usher in a "new deal" between the United States and the rest of the world to tackle the global financial crisis and other troubles.
"This is a time for a renewed commitment between Europe and the United States of America," Barroso said in a statement. "We need to change the current crisis into a new opportunity. We need a new deal for a new world."
With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan heading White House priorities abroad, there were also calls for a change of tack on the US "War on Terror" launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"Our demand is the repetition of demands we have had since long ago and that is a change of the strategy of the war against terrorism," said Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The "'War on Terror' cannot be fought in Afghan villages… Afghanistan is the victim of terrorism," Karzai said.
Obama's election would not lead to a quick US disengagement from Iraq, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said.
"We don't think there will be change in policy overnight. There won't be quick disengagement here. A great deal is at stake here," Zebari told AFP, adding that Baghdad was looking for a "successful partnership" with Obama.
Israeli-US relations have "a bright future," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Ygal Palmor said. But Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas urged Obama to speed up efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
Election parties were held in major capitals around the world bringing together expatriate Americans and people anxious over events in the United States.
Hundreds of villagers in Kogelo, Obama's Kenyan family home, erupted into song and dance. President Mwai Kibaki declared a national holiday on Thursday to mark Obama's victory.
Swinging branches and chairs in the air, men cheered and clapped while women shouted "Obama! Obama!" in the village where his grandmother lives and where his late Kenyan father was born.
In Obama, an ancient fishing town on the Sea of Japan — Obama means small shore in Japanese — residents dressed in Hawaiian skirts did a hula dance in celebration, embracing Hawaiian-born Obama as one of their own.
"I'm so excited because Obama shares our town's name. But even if the town was called McCain I would still support Barack Obama," said 44-year-old dancer Masayo Ishibashi.