Seoul, South Korea: President Barack Obama said a strong, job-creating economy in the United States would be the country's most important contribution to a global recovery as he pleaded with world leaders to work together despite sharp differences.
Arriving in South Korea on Wednesday for the G-20 summit, Obama is expected to find himself on the defensive because of plans by the Federal Reserve to buy $600 billion in long-term government bonds to try to drive down interest rates, spur lending and boost the US economy. Critics say the move will give American goods an unfair advantage.
In a letter sent yesterday to leaders of the Group of 20 major economic powers, Obama defended the steps his administration and Congress have taken to help the economy. (Read: Letter from President Obama to G-20 Leaders)
"The United States will do its part to restore strong growth, reduce economic imbalances and calm markets," he wrote. "A strong recovery that creates jobs, income and spending is the most important contribution the United States can make to the global recovery."
Obama outlined the work he had done to repair the nation's financial system and enact reforms after the worst recession in decades. He implored the G-20 leaders to seize the opportunity to ensure a strong and durable recovery. The summit gets under way tomorrow.
"When all nations do their part - emerging no less than advanced, surplus no less than deficit - we all benefit from higher growth," the president said in the letter.
Earlier today in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, Obama issued a strikingly personal appeal to the Muslim world to join the West in an unrelenting battle to defeat Al-Qaida and violent extremism.
"Let me begin with a simple statement: Indonesia is part of me," he said in the language, cheering the audience of more than 6,000 mostly young people at the University of Indonesia. Obama had spent several years in the country as a boy.
He acknowledged the fraying that remains in US-Islamic relations despite his best efforts at repair. He urged both sides to look beyond "suspicion and mistrust" to forge common ground against terrorism.
Obama praised this nation of islands for progress in rooting out terrorists and combatting violent extremism, and he resurrected a theme he sounded last year during visits to Turkey and Egypt: "I have made it clear that America is not and never will be at war with Islam. ... Those who want to build must not cede ground to terrorists who seek to destroy."AP