BANGKOK – Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday night after a grueling presidential race and used his acceptance speech in front of a huge cheering crowd in Chicago to strike a conciliatory note toward his political opponents.
The nationwide popular vote remained extremely close with Obama taking about 50 percent to 49 percent for Romney after a campaign in which the candidates and their party allies spent a combined $2 billion. But in the state-by-state system of electoral votes that decides the White House, Obama notched up a comfortable victory.
By early on Wednesday, Obama had 303 electoral votes, well over the 270 needed to win, to Romney’s 206. Florida’s close race was not yet declared, leaving its 29 electoral votes still to be claimed.
The newly re-elected US President Barack Obama will attend an ASEAN summit in Cambodia on November 18, adding to speculation he may use the opportunity to visit nearby Burma, said Reuters on Wednesday.According to the report, Cambodia’s Information Minister Khieu Kanharith on Wednesday said that Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin would attend the summit, as well as leaders from China and Japan.
The annual summit of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is usually extended to take in meetings with leaders of partner countries. Preliminary details for this year show the event will run in Phnom Penh from November 15 to 20.
Local and regional media have speculated that Obama would visit Thailand, a staunch US ally, but no official statement has been made.
Writing in Mizzima on Tuesday, Thai columnist Kavi Chongkittavorn said, “The trip to three ASEAN members would be historic, especially for Myanmar. The recent reforms in the former rogue state have won praise the world over—so much so that Obama cannot just ignore them.”
In November 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the first US foreign minister in more than 50 years to visit Burma.
The US recently relaxed economic sanctions on Burma, and several leading US firms have sent representatives along with Washington delegations to engage with their Burmese counterparts.