To say that this week will be a dizzying, busy week for Thailand is an understatement. For the next few days Thailand is playing host to the leaders of the world's two most powerful countries _ US President Barack Obama and China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
Arriving in Thailand Sunday, President Obama's visit underscores the geopolitical significance of Southeast Asia and Thailand at a time when the US and China are competing for a firmer stronghold in Asia, which is set to be the world's strongest growth machine.
Just days before Mr Obama's Bangkok visit, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta was in Thailand to strengthen the Thai-US military alliance. The Pentagon chief's visit was a curtain-raiser to Mr Obama's Southeast Asia trip to confirm the US determination to maintain its influence and contain China's power in the region.
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