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Obama said Palestinians will have no chance to pursue their own state and a lasting peace with Israel as long as rockets are fired into Israel. He said he hoped for a clearer process over the next 48 hours — showing how much the Mideast conflict had intruded on his diplomatic mission to Asia.

Still, Obama got a red-carpet welcome, a dose of sightseeing and an official dinner of authentic Thai food.

In a news conference with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, both leaders spoke of deepening ties of trade, security and democracy. Obama’s praised Thailand for being a supporter of democracy in Myanmar, the once-pariah state that is rapidly reforming. He said he appreciated the Thai prime minister’s insights into Myanmar during their private meeting Sunday.

On a steamy day, Obama began with a visit to the Wat Pho Royal Monastery, a cultural must-see in Bangkok. In stocking feet, the president and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton walked up to a giant statue of Reclining Buddha, nearly 50 yards long and 45 feet high. The complex is a sprawling display of temples with colorful spires, gardens and waterfalls.

After his time at the temple, Obama paid a courtesy call to the ailing, 84-year-old U.S.-born King Bhumibol Adulyadej in his hospital quarters. The king, the longest serving living monarch, was born in Cambridge, Mass., and studied in Europe.

The centerpiece of the Asia trip comes Monday when Obama travels to Myanmar.

Obama aides see Myanmar as not only a success story but also as a signal to other countries that the U.S. will reward democratic behavior.