Trump’s Visit to Asia

Jason Kim’19

According to the White House, President Trump will travel to Asia from November 3rd to 14th to meet the leaders of five countries- China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines- to address rising tensions over North Korea’s recent ICBM (Inter-continental ballistic missile) and nuclear programs.

The White House said President Trump will “resolve to confront the North Korean threat and ensure the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” President Trump’s schedule sends a clear message to Kim Jung-Un, the dictator of North Korea; Trump plans to start his second major foreign trip by visiting the U.S. Pacific Command and Pearl Harbor, followed by meeting the families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, and finally visiting the DMZ (de-militarized zone), which separates two Koreas. In addition, he will have bilateral summits with each country’s leader, including China’s Xi Jinping, mainly to talk about additional sanctions on North Korea.

Although North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments are more pressing issues for the Trump administration, President Trump also needs to deal with economic tensions with the Asian allies.

Asian countries do not necessarily favor President Trump’s economic policies. Trump abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership immediately after taking office, which was supported by South Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, three of the five Asian countries Trump will be visiting next month. Trump has criticized China’s trade surpluses against the United States and accused China of manipulating its currency. President Trump has also recently argued that the 2012 US-Korea FTA (Free Trade Agreement) is unfair and called for renegotiation. The Trump administration needs to find a strategic way to bring these Asian counterparts together for joint actions against North Korea, despite contradictory economic interests.

Moreover, Trump will attend both the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. There, Trump will have the opportunity to reveal the administration’s Asian policy blueprint, possibly including its official stance on the South China Sea and other sensitive political and geographical issues that divide Asian countries.

North Korea and trade policies are two major challenges of the U.S administration, but it also needs to answer more questions. President Trump must prove that his administration is capable of tackling and overcoming these complex challenges, especially when the United States needs a clear roadmap and strong leadership.



Filed in: Featured content, Politics

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