January 21, 2018

Despite Red Carpet, Trump Agenda in Asia Largely Ignored

14 November 2017, 08:19 | Glen Norman

But then he surprisingly said: "But I don't blame China".

It is understandable that some long-standing issues between the two countries, such as United States concern for market access and intellectual property and Chinese concern for excessive scrutiny of Chinese investment in the United States and restriction of high-tech exports to China, won't be resolved during this visit. "Otherwise we'll go to the plane and we'll take off, and we'll be landing in Washington in about 22 hours".

In other policy areas, the President Trump's Asia trip brought less clarification.

Not a shock, granted.

"Local leaders were looking for seriousness and not just stamina, any sign Trump was prepared to provide a potent counter-balance to China", writes Bloomberg.

President Moon also publicly congratulated him on his "great progress on making America great again". His words against "government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises" and "product dumping, subsidized goods, currency manipulation and predatory industrial policies" definitely targeted China's economic practices that he frequently criticized during his run for the presidency.

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'It was red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever received.

One of Trump's aides marvelled at the sheer size of China's claims in the South China Sea, noting that Air Force One flew for three hours over these contested waters on its way from Hanoi, Vietnam to Manila. For Trump, dogged at home by low public approval ratings and investigations into Russian links to his election campaign, the deals will be an important prize to flaunt on his return.

He has hinted that the USA may relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Having seized upon this good news story on the outbound leg, President Trump proceeded to tell what seemed like every person he encountered about it. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia didn't need much convincing. If not, as Trump has repeatedly said, the military option is on the table-something to which China is strongly opposed.

The story was so easy to believe - President Trump, during a photocall with Mr Abe, had lost patience while carefully feeding the palace koi, upending his container into the pond.

Trump's building of relationships with other leaders has so far served him well.

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HORSLEY: Trump even tweeted perhaps facetiously that he's tried to be friends with Kim Jong Un. In the event, neither transpired. "As Singapore Prime Minister Lee pointed out, the reason bilateral trade deals are so attractive for the U.S., is precisely why no one will want to enter into one with the United States of America: because the US could bully anyone on a bilateral basis", said the Cabinet member who did not want to be named. China is known for its long-term planning, such as its five-year plans and even a plan into 2049, the centennial of the People's Republic. Vietnam has sought balanced relations with the two but with regional dynamics rapidly shifting, it has cut an increasingly lonely figure in attempting to keep a consistent strategy resisting great power coercion.

Trump, who is on a two-week visit to Asia, said in China that he felt US-Chinese trade relations were "very unfair and one-sided".

On Friday in Vietnam, after cozying up to the Chinese leadership, Trump pivoted, taking a hard line against Chinese trade practices in a speech to CEOs attending the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

It remains to be seen whether the statement will also include details related to the revision of Washington's bilateral free trade deal with South Korea.

We would have asked him about it, but the USA had acceded to the Chinese "insistence" that no questions from the press be allowed.

He hinted at the announcement while he was at the ASEAN summit in Manila on Monday where he encountered controversial Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte several times.

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The White House said they touched on the issue during private talks, Mr Duterte's spokesman said they didn't.

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