On Asia tour, Obama cherishes `genuine friendship` with Singh

US President Barack Obama has sought to dismiss notions that his international standing has diminished due to the recent election rout at home.

Last Updated: Nov 13, 2010, 20:27 PM IST

Washington: US President Barack Obama has
sought to dismiss notions that his international standing has
diminished due to the recent election rout at home, citing his
remarkable chemistry with leaders like Manmohan Singh and
Angela Merkel at international summits like the G20.

Obama, on one of the longest foreign trips of his
presidency, has travelled to India and Indonesia on bilateral
visits, besides South Korea and Japan for the G20 and APEC
summits.

Confronted by repeated questions over the fallout of
the mid-term polls back home on his position in the
international fora, Obama said his working relationships had
in fact improved with certain global leaders over time.

Days after a memorable visit to India, Obama, 49, has
special admiration for the 78-year-old Indian Prime Minister.

He said he has also developed good working relationships with
German Chancellor Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, according to reports in the American media.

"I guess what I`m saying is, that I actually think
that my relationships have grown much stronger with the people
who I`ve worked with here," Obama said in Seoul on the
sidelines of the summit of the G20 group of industrialised and
developing nations.

He said while the initial "hoopla surrounding my
election" might have died down, his interactions with
international leaders over two years has led to genuine
friendships.

"He and I share a level of understanding and interest
in working together that didn`t exist when I first came onto
the scene," Obama said on Manmohan Singh.

He also cited similar connections during the Japan leg
of his visit, with Singh, Merkel and Erdogan, as also South
Korean President Lee Myung-Bak, despite having failed to
conclude a free trade pact in South Korea.

"That doesn`t mean there aren`t going to be
differences," Obama said in Yokohama from where he is headed
back to the US.

Though he admitted talks with his Chinese counterpart
Hu Jintao on the volatile issues of currency and trade has
been difficult.

PTI