On Day 3 of the his visit to the United Nations, President Barack Obama will focus on Sudan and Southeast Asia. After concentrating on broader international issues during the first two days, Obama will attend a high-level U.N. meeting aimed at ensuring that an upcoming independence referendum for southern Sudan does not spark a new civil war. Preparations for the January vote are behind schedule, and there are fears that a vote to secede will lead to violence. In preparatory meetings this week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been urging Sudanese authorities to make up for lost time in preparing for the referendum that is called for in the 2005 peace agreement that ended 21 years of north-south civil war in the African nation. The president will also host a luncheon for leaders from the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, who are concerned about increasing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. To China's chagrin, the Obama administration has declared a peaceful resolution to territorial disputes in the sea to be in the United States' best interest. A president's work is never done.
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