- Associated Press - Sunday, November 13, 2011

HONOLULU — President Barack Obama says the U.S. will not be able to put people back to work and expand opportunity unless the Asia-Pacific region also is successful.

The president called the region “absolutely critical” to America’s growth, and a top priority for his administration, as he welcomed leaders of the 21-economy Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to a summit in his home state of Hawaii.

And Obama said he hoped for progress Sunday toward the goal of a seamless regional economy.

Obama was meeting throughout the day with leaders of nations from Chile to China that account for roughly half of the world’s trade. He was to cap the summit with a solo news conference.

It’s part of a nine-day trip that will also take him to Australia and Indonesia.

President Obama (right) and his wife Michelle (second from left) greet Chinese President Hu Jintao (second from right) and his wife Liu Yongqing before their dinner at the APEC Summit in Honolulu on Nov. 12, 2011. (Associated Press)
President Obama (right) and his wife Michelle (second from left) greet Chinese ... more >