As President Barack Obama launches a three-day Southeast Asia tour, the White House is hailing alliances with countries such as Thailand as cornerstones of the administration's enhanced focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

President Barack Obama and Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, review Thai troops during a welcoming ceremony. (Jack Kurtz/Getty Images)

Obama landed in Thailand today to begin a schedule is packed with cultural sightseeing, a royal audience with Thailand's king and a private meeting with the country's prime minister, a joint press conference and an official dinner. He'll also become the first president to visit Myanmar, also known as Burma.

But while in Asia, Obama will be dividing his attention and he closely monitors the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Obama's in regular contact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as with Egyptian and Turkish leaders who might have influence on the Hamas leadership.
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