President Barack Obama and the leaders of the 10 countries that comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will hold the final day of their two-day summit today.
For the president, the summit has been part of a Presidents Day weekend that saw him reacting to the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and playing golf with old friends.
Obama was joined Monday by Secretary of State John Kerry at Sunnylands resort in Rancho Mirage for the summit, which is aimed at strengthening a new U.S.-ASEAN strategic partnership, forged last November during a presidential trip to Malaysia. The members of ASEAN are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
“This unprecedented gathering — the first hosted by the United States with the ASEAN leaders — builds on the deeper partnership that the United States has forged with ASEAN since 2009 and will further advance the Administration’s rebalance to Asia and the Pacific,” according to a White House statement.
The meeting, which was also intended to drive progress on a Trans- Pacific Partnership trade agreement, was not without its detractors. Hundreds of protesters Monday lined the streets near Sunnylands, decrying the impact of increased globalization.
“While out-of-touch politicians discuss plans to ratify and even expand the TPP, working people in California and around the globe are uniting to defeat trade deals that … drive down wages and hurt the environment,” said Lua Masumi, state director for Citizens Trade Campaign.
“As a result of public anger, the TPP is already dead-on-arrival in Congress this year and the leading presidential candidates from both parties are also speaking out against it,” she said.
Representatives from organized labor and environmentalists also railed against the pact.
“The world cannot afford the TPP,” said Jacob Zehender of the Sierra Club of San Diego. “Beyond just failing to mention the term `climate change’ in its thousands of pages, the TPP would provide corporations with new tools for attacking environmental and consumer protections at home and abroad, while simultaneously increasing the export of fracked gas and other climate- disrupting fossil fuels.”
Air Force One landed at Palm Springs International Airport just after 11:30 a.m. Friday after being diverted briefly to fly over mountainous terrain that the president had just designated as national monuments.
Obama over three days played golf with Honolulu boyhood friends and frequent golf partners Greg Orme, Mike Ramos and Bobby Titcomb at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta, and Sunday at Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s private golf course at his 249-acre Rancho Mirage estate.
Road closures scheduled through 4 p.m. today include Kirk Douglas Way, between Ramon and El Cielo roads, and Airport Center Drive at Kirk Douglas Way. The public can access Palm Springs International Airport via the main entrance at the intersection of Tahquitz Canyon Way and El Cielo Road.
Other road closures went into effect Sunday surrounding the Sunnylands Estate and were scheduled through 3 p.m. today, including Gerald Ford Drive at Bob Hope Drive, Bob Hope Drive at Frank Sinatra Drive, and Frank Sinatra Drive from Morningside Drive to Bob Hope Drive.