'Now is time for Obama to work'

22 January 2009 - 02:00
By unknown

The world's press has hailed Barack Obama's inauguration as the start of a pivotal era far removed from the Bush years - but warned that the new US president must deliver on his promises of change.

Newspapers in the US trumpeted "President Obama" after a historic day that saw the swearing-in of the country's first black president.

"President Obama Pledges a Remade America," wrote the New York Times, hailing what it called a "moment of historical significance".

The Washington Post highlighted the difficult road ahead for the former Illinois senator, saying: "The challenges we face are real."

British newspapers were swept along on the global tide of Obama euphoria, splashing the headlines: "Hope is reborn", "Let the remaking of America begin today" and, on a lighter note, "Barack to the future".

Most saw Obama's inauguration address as a clear break from the administration of George Bush, with the left-wing Guardian proclaiming: "The work of doing things different now begins."

In Australia, the Daily Telegraph said as the first black president, Obama's leadership represents "a massive step in ending racial enmity".

The French press also focused on the tough challenges facing Obama, with the conservative Le Figaro stressing that he faces "a heavy task to prevent the economic decline of the US and the collapse of the global economy".

In Indonesia, where Obama spent several years of his childhood, the Jakarta Post urged the country's citizens to be proud of "President Barry".

But China's state-run media expressed nervousness over the future of Beijing's relations with Washington under the new president, paying tribute to his predecessor Bush.

The most precious legacy of Bush's eight years in power was the stabilising of Sino-US relations, according to an editorial in the English-language China Daily - a vehicle for the government to air views to a foreign audience.

Elsewhere, world newspapers offered Obama a wish-list of causes and hoped-for policies.

"What people want from him from today on is not only beautiful speeches but also results and achievement," said Japan's Asahi Shimbun, sounding caution over Obama's protectionist rhetoric in the run-up to the election.

"If he sticks too much to the cause of protecting jobs and American markets and companies, global free trade would be in jeopardy," it said.

South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper urged the new administration to cooperate closely with Seoul to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, "while at the same time adopting a tough diplomatic stance".

The Times of India called on the new president to split his energies between kick-starting the world economy and shifting foreign policy attention to "the real battleground in Afghanistan and Pakistan". - Sapa-AFP