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Obamas land in Honolulu

By B.J. Reyes

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:39 p.m. HST, Nov 11, 2011


President Barack Obama arrived in Honolulu late Friday night ahead of this weekend's top-level talks of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
 
Air Force One touched down at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at 10:43 p.m.
 
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama emerged a few minutes later and were greeted by a contingent that included Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, U.S. Reps. Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa, Mayor Peter Carlisle and Adm. Robert Willard, head of the Pacific Command.
 
Obama, dressed in khaki pants and a light long-sleeved shirt, met with the contingent for about five minutes then boarded a limousine with his wife for the short drive into Waikiki. Mrs. Obama was dressed in a floral print dress and black cardigan. Neither of the Obamas were given lei.
 
The couple's daughters, Malia and Sasha, did not accompany their parents on the trip.
 
"He was clearly delighted to be here," said Abercrombie after the Obamas left Hickam. "Michelle was thrilled to be back in Hawaii."
 
The president greeted Abercrombie with a hardy "aloha," the governor said.
 
Just as with the arrival of other high-profile leaders, highways and overpasses were closed to vehicle traffic as the president's motorcade traveled to Waikiki.
 
The Obamas arrived after a day that began honoring service members in Washington, D.C., on the Veteran's Day holiday and then taking in the North Carolina-Michigan State game aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in San Diego before heading to Honolulu.
 
Obama also spoke with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who abruptly canceled his participation in APEC after the death of his top Cabinet secretary, Francisco Blake Mora, in a helicopter crash Friday. 
 
The highest-level talks of this week's summit begin today with two of the 21 member nations' leaders absent due to tragedies in their homelands. In addition to Calderon, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra canceled her participation to remain in her country and deal with massive flooding that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
 
Obama is scheduled to start his working weekend this morning with talks among the nine leaders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade agreement, before participating in APEC meetings and bilateral talks with the leaders of Japan, China and Russia.
 
Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived Thursday. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda were among the world leaders who arrived Friday.
 
Medvedev flew in at 9:25 a.m., prompting police to shut down the H-1 freeway, overpasses and other roads to Waikiki as his motorcade left Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at about 9:33 a.m. All roads and overpasses reopened by 9:51 a.m.
 
The Russian, Chinese and U.S. leaders require the highest security presence as they move around the island, police have said.
 
Other world leaders who came in Friday included Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Sultan Sir Bolkiah Hassanal of Brunei, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Rabak, and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak arrived at about 9:30 p.m. Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to arrive today.







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