WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama on Wednesday lauded Singapore's "legendary" founding father Lee Kuan Yew, as he sought advice ahead of his first trip to Asia since taking office.
Obama told reporters before a meeting with Lee that he was looking forward to hearing his views on the evolving situation in the region, before leaving on November 11 for a trip to Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea.
"This is one of the legendary figures of Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries," Obama said as he sat side-by-side with Lee in the Oval Office.
"He is somebody who helped to trigger the Asian economic miracle," Obama said, adding that Singapore had been an outstanding friend and ally of the United States for many years.
Lee, 86, said that he was privileged to visit Obama at a "time of renewal and change in America, and during a period of transition where the world order is changing."
Obama's trip to Singapore includes his inaugural appearances at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and a meeting with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Lee, whose official title is Minister Mentor, served as prime minister of Singapore between 1959 to 1990, and is regarded as an expert on Asian affairs and US relations with the region.
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