Obama would talk to South Korea about military threats from its isolated Communist neighbor North Korea, which the south says is stepping up activity at a major nuclear test site.
In Japan, Obama may indicate support for Tokyo's control of eight disputed islets in the East China Sea. Beijing claims them as well, which set off a series of risky military flyovers and naval expeditions since Tokyo nationalized the islands in September 2012.
American business may gain in the long term from the Obama trip, analysts say. Tighter political relations would open the doors further to American brands in counties where Chinese rivals, such as telecom developers Huawei (002502:Shenzhen) and ZTE (ZTCOF), have gained ground.
"I suppose [Obama] is trying to catch up on what they've missed out, to plant the flag to say that this neck of the woods still matters to Americans," says Song Seng Wun, regional economist with CIMB Research in Singapore. Obama's visit, he says, may produce "the odd deal here and there to show that at least there is still opportunity for business despite gains that the Chinese have had around the world, especially here in Asia."
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
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