By Geoff Dyer, FT China bureau chief
Barack Obama’s efforts to reach out to ordinary Chinese on his Asia tour may have fallen a little flat, but there is one trump card he can play to score points with his hosts – the three members of Obama’s Cabinet who can get by in Chinese.
By Christian Oliver, FT South Korea bureau chief
Seoul’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper last week speculated on the most important question surrounding the South Korea leg of Barack Obama’s Asia tour: whether the presidential lunch would be accompanied by Korean rice liquor, or a fruity Californian red?
On the eve of Mr Obama’s arrival in Seoul on Wednesay, officials said it would most likely be an American wine. The South Koreans probably intend those bottles of Californian wine to deliver a none-too-subtle message about the importance of a trade agreement between Washington and Seoul, currently held up mainly by resistance from US automakers.
But that bottle – Zinfandel? – could also raise deeper questions about trade deals with South Korea.