“Editorial made simple – An itinerary in search of a strategy: on Trump’s East Asia tour”

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An itinerary in search of a strategy: on Trump’s East Asia tour

• Donald Trump’s statements and Twitter posts through his 12-day, five-nation tour of Asia — the longest for a U.S. President in 25 years.

Trump’s ‘Terrific’ China:

• Mr. Trump gave an overview of the “terrific” tour and the new friendships that he has developed.
• Unprecedented reception in Beijing. conversations with the “terrific” President Xi Jinping and the special honour he received at the Forbidden City.
• Trump’s business deals topped the list of achievements
o Figure at $300 billion and hoped that it would exceed $1 trillion in the coming months, though the actual numbers remain unclear

Important Background developments:

• Trump administration has started using in a clear acknowledgment of India’s prominence.
• Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO summit in Vietnam would elucidate his vision for the Indo-Pacific region

Trump’s View & attitude:

• U.S. has been taken advantage of by all countries and global institutions, particularly the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
• But he would not blame other countries or their leaders for this situation; it was all the fault of the U.S. administrations that preceded him.
• Trump then declared- “Those days are over”
• He was there “to offer a renewed partnership with America”
• Bilateral trade agreements abide by the principles of fair and reciprocal trade.
• He calls it the Indo-Pacific dream.

Analysis:

• U.S. has trade deficits with all the five countries (China, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam) that Mr. Trump visited.
• Trump said that the U.S. would not tolerate this.
• In the case of the Philippines, which has a small surplus with the U.S., the relationship more about military purposes than trade.
• Rise of China has added additional buoyancy for neighbouring countries.
• Post 2008 crisis- U.S. itself was alarmed by the assertiveness of China.
• Thus, the Obama administration announced the Pivot to Asia strategy in response.
• Mr. Trump also told his Asian hosts that they were free to pursue their interests solo, as he would pursue his. He hinted that America is washing its hands of any leadership role.

Security concerns:

• Mr. Trump asked them all to join hands with the U.S. in stopping North Korea’s nuclear adventurism.
• He asked Japan, Vietnam and South Korea to buy “our weapons”, cited Saudi Arabia as an example.
• Mr. Trump’s “Indo-Pacific dream” may not appear to be much of a dream for most countries in the region.
• Conflicts in Asia, in the west and the east, could appear to be good opportunities for profit from the perspective of business (strategical, political, economic view).