Oddly Enough

Obama in a grass skirt? Hawaii to host APEC 2011

REFILE - CORRECTING BYLINE APEC Leaders pose for a family photograph after their dinner at the APEC Summit in Singapore November 14, 2009. Pictured (L-R) are: Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, U.S. President Barack Obama, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, China's President Hu Jintao, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon. REUTERS/Jason Reed

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama invited fellow leaders in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation to a summit in Hawaii in 2011, but may have alarmed them with the dress code.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, which concluded on Sunday in Singapore, is an annual meeting best known for a tradition whereby presidents and prime ministers don outfits that are typical of the host country.

“I look forward to seeing you all decked out in flowered shirts and grass skirts, because today I’m announcing that we are bringing this forum to my home state of Hawaii in 2011,” Obama told his assembled counterparts on Sunday.

At APEC’s first summit, held in Seattle in 1993, heads of state sported leather bomber jackets. Other outfits have included traditional Korean and Vietnamese tops, batik shirts and an Australian outback coat. On Saturday night, Obama and his counterparts were resplendent in blue, green, or cranberry-red linen shirts with Mandarin collars, symbolic of Singapore’s early Chinese settlers who assimilated into the local Malay culture.

Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Bill Tarrant