A ringside view

Indochina Bureau Chief Nirmal Ghosh was present when US President Barack Obama emerged with Aung San Suu Kyi on the patio of her lakeside home, then turned to the shy, slim lady, a fellow Nobel Peace laureate, to bestow a kiss on her flaming cheeks. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

These have been busy days for Straits Times correspondents across Asia, and the United States. No sooner had our US bureau taken a breather from 16-hour work days during US election hectivities and we turned full-beam to China, which was going through a once-in-a-decade political transition. Unlike previous handovers, this one came loaded with backroom politics as the still-powerful Jiang Zemin apparently manipulated from behind the scenes to winkle his favoured men into the top echelons. Dig into our Special Coverage of the China Changeover package for the juice on this, particularly stories by China bureau chief Peh Shing Huei and correspondent Kor Kian Beng.

Just as we got to know the new leadership line-up in Beijing, we were looking to Washington all over again as US President Barack Obama, accompanied by his popular Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made Asia the destination for his first overseas trip post-election. Obama started the tour in Thailand, before going on to Myanmar and winding up at the East Asia Summit hosted by Cambodia.

Flying in from his Bangkok base, Indochina bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh was in Yangon to record Mr Obama's historic meeting with the Myanmar leadership. He was also present when the US leader emerged with Aung San Suu Kyi on the patio of her lakeside home, then turned to the shy, slim lady, a fellow Nobel Peace laureate, to bestow a kiss on her flaming cheeks. From Yangon, Ghosh travelled overnight to Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, where he joined correspondent Jeremy Au Yong at the East Asia Summit. Read Ghosh's blog on the Obama trip, and his musings on the evolving US-China relationship, written exclusively for the Straits Times Asia Report.

As the East Asia Summit wound down, it was clear that regional diplomacy was not going to take a pause. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, making a farewell trip in the region, flew into Thailand, days after Obama departed. Thailand correspondent Tan Hui Yee was at a lunch table in a banquet hall in Bangkok, a few tables away from Wen and his Thai counterpart, Yingluck Shinawatra. You will find her coverage in the Southeast Asia section of this site, as well as under Diplomacy.

This is the heady air of the world's most dynamic region that The Straits Times breathes every day. This site will strive to reflect that excitement as Asia engages with itself, and the broader world. While many global masts are reducing their foreign coverage, scaling back on overseas bureaus, we are expanding our footprint. This year we added correspondents in Hongkong, New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur. More bureaus are planned, including, you guessed it-- Myanmar!

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