Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Trump's China trip can pave way for smooth ties ahead

Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte
Bennie Garza | 14 November, 2017, 21:18

Mr. Trump focused on North Korea and its nuclear threat during his visits to South Korea and China and even fired off a series of tweets Saturday, calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "short and fat".

"We've explained that the United States is open for trade but we want reciprocal, we want fair trade for the United States", he told reporters in Manila during a summit of Asian leaders, where integrating economies and curbing protectionism has been on the agenda.

Trump said the USA also remained deeply concerned about the use of chemical weapons by state and non-state actors. He did not elaborate. Missing was any agreement on market access or reduction in technology-sharing agreements that American businesses have long complained about.

His South Korea visit demonstrated just how much his violent rhetoric against North Korea, not to mention his attacks on trade pacts, had already so damaged relations that Seoul succumbed to Chinese economic and diplomatic pressures and agree to limiting deployment of THAAD missiles.

Overlooking his record low approval ratings and domestic political troubles, Mr Trump cited gains on the United States stock market and unemployment numbers, in what would become a regular refrain throughout the trip.

"We now see that the commitment to a regional trade agreement, and the willingness to lead towards that outcome, was in fact broad and local". In Beijing, he embraced the Chinese leader unlike any US president going back to Richard M. Nixon.

Trump has also surprised many for his relatively good handling of US-China relations, including forging a close working and personal relationship with President Xi Jinping. Although there were few weighty deliverables from Trump's tour, for Asian nations looking nervously at China's increasing assertiveness, it may be welcomed as a sign that his administration is still committed to the region. He is senior fellow for the Maryland Public Policy Institute. "In less than one lifetime, South Korea climbed from total devastation to among the wealthiest nations on Earth", he said. Eighteen leaders from the ASEAN and their Dialogue Partners which comprises the East Asia Summit or EAS, pose for a brief group photo at the ongoing 31st ASEAN Summit November 14, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. "And I would say that's the least significant thing that we accomplished".

Trump returns to Washington D.C. today from the Philippines, which was the final stop on his 11-day odyssey to Asia. But one thing they seemed to learn was that he responds well to a lavish reception. It began on May 20 when he chose Ryadh, the capital of the medieval kingdom and ground zero of Muslim extremism, as his first overseas visit after taking office and has ended with his embrace of the Philippines' murderous president Rodrigo Duterte, with time out to outrage the US's intelligence community by his fawning embrace of former KGB Colonel Vladimir Putin, who, wide-eyed, told Trump he had nothing to do with sabotaging the U.S. election that brought Trump to power.

It is understandable that some long-standing issues between the two countries, such as USA concern for market access and intellectual property and Chinese concern for excessive scrutiny of Chinese investment in the U.S. and restriction of high-tech exports to China, won't be resolved during this visit. That is true of both North Korea and the trade issue.

"The North Korean situation continues to be a problem", Trump said on November 12 while in the Philippines. Do not underestimate us.

Three US aircraft carriers conducted exercises in the Pacific during the visit, for the first time in a decade, but defence secretary James Mattis said there was "no big message".

When he ran for president, Trump was openly hostile to the idea of multilateral trade deals like the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he withdrew America from after taking office.

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

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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