Trump focuses on trade imbalance, N. Korea’s nuclear in Asia tour

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Trump focuses on trade imbalance, N. Korea’s nuclear in Asia tour

U.S. President Donald Trump began his first presidential Asia tour earlier this week with North Korea security issues and U.S. trade interests are in his top discussion agenda. The 11-day tour will see bilateral meetings and multilateral meetings in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Japan: U.S. seeks reciprocal trade
During his Japan visit, Trump vowed to push for a balanced trade partnership with Japan after decades of “massive trade deficits” and highlighted the U.S.-Japan alliance was an important key of Asian security. Japan recorded a US$ 69 billion trade surplus with the U.S. last year.

As the U.S. has suffered trade deficits with Japan in decades, he wants a free and reciprocal trade, saying “right now our trade with Japan is not free and it’s not reciprocal.” However, he also appreciated Japan for purchasing U.S. military equipment. Trump believed the free and reciprocal trade with Japan will be done in a quick and very friendly manner.

During the press conference after bilateral meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke up the need to established rules-based economic order in the Indo-Pacific, saying the economic issue is not limited to bilateral trade but also the entire region.

South Korea: All about North Korea’s nuclear threat
In his Seoul visit, Trump addressed less on trade issue and delivered a message to North Korea dictatorship that U.S. would defend itself and its allies against Pyongyang’s nuclear threat. “Do not underestimate us and do not try us,” he said.

Trump talked less about how U.S. keep its trade interests in place with South Korea. He said the U.S. sees trade deficits with many countries and his administrations cannot allow that to continue happening. “And we’ll start with South Korea right now,” Trump said. Since the 2012 Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, U.S. goods trade deficit has widened to US$ 27.6 billion.

China: Trump strikes warm tone on China
During a press conference on Nov. 9, Trump said he doesn’t blame China for taking advantage of differences between the way the two countries do business although he did mention the trade relationship currently running is very one-sided and unfair. Instead he blamed past US administrations for allowing this trade deficit to take place and to grow.

Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping also witnessed the signing of U.S.-China business deals worth around US$ 250 billion, which include the purchase of Boeing aircraft and a liquefied natural gas project in Alaska.

Southeast Asia visit for multilateral meetings
U.S. President and his entourage is scheduled to continue his Asia tour to Danang, Vietnam, to participated in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting. Reports said he will also speak about the American vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific region” at the APEC CEO summit. He is also slated to meet Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and other senior leaders in Hanoi on the next day.

On Nov. 12, President Trump will attend the Special Gala Celebration Dinner for the 50th Anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He will also meet Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and other Southeast Asian leaders at the ASEAN Summit on the next day.

Los Angeles Times/ The Washington Post/ BBC/ Channel News Asia

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