(NBC News) – President Obama is in the air this morning headed to Tokyo. This is the Asian trip he postponed last fall when the federal government shut down.
Much of this trip is about the economy, but it began with an emotional visit to Washington State.
President Obama met first responders and families, and toured damage in Oso, Washington – the site of last month’s deadly mudslide. “We’re going to make sure we’re there every step of the way,” said President Barack Obama.
This morning, he’s headed to Tokyo for an eight-day visit to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The U.S. trade team is already there working on the Trans-Pacific partnership – a deal that would erase trade barriers between a dozen countries. “Resolution of that agreement will mean real job growth, real economic prosperity,” said Rep. Eric Cantor, (R) Virginia.
It may not happen before President Obama meets Japan’s president this morning.
The message from the U.S. – we’ve got your back. “We do need to assure our allies in Asia that America’s commitments and security commitments are rock solid and that we are going to not allow a situation where a bigger nation can push around the smaller nation in a territorial dispute,” said Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor.
However, the president is not visiting china which is a growing economic power, but not part of the Asian trade deal.
Experts are split, but the u-s is watching, to see if North Korea will try its fourth nuclear test during the President’s visit.