For the first time since becoming President of the United States, Donald Trump will travel to Asia in November. It is expected that the trip will be dominated by the North Korea nuclear threat. Trump will travel Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Trump will travel between November 3 to 14. During his visit, he will attend two major summits, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conclave in the Philippine. Melania Trump will also accompany him.
There was an uncertainty over the presence of the Donald Trump at the Manila Summit until recent days as according to officials he was reluctant to show support for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been responsible for a number of anti-America outbursts.
An Asian diplomat welcomed Trump’s decision to visit Manila “because that reassures the region that Asia policy is not just about North Korea, it’s about Southeast Asia as well.”
However, after the Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal early year had raised serious concern over the Trump’s administration’s commitment to the region, but recent visits by senior officials, including the secretaries of state defense and commerce, and Trump’s planned trip, showed Washington intended to remain engaged.
The upcoming trip to Asia could serve as an opportunity for Trump to resolve the North Korea issue by collaborating with the Asian allies.
He has denounced Kim as a “rocket man” on a suicide mission for test launches of ballistic missiles and for nuclear weapon tests. He has warned North Korea would face total devastation if it threatens the United States at the recently held UNGA. Kim has blasted Trump as “mentally deranged.”
“The president’s engagements will strengthen the international resolve to confront the North Korean threat and ensure the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the White House said in announcing the trip.
Trump’s visit to China will reciprocate a trip to the United States made in April by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump has applied heavy pressure on China to rein in North Korea. While his efforts have had limited success thus far, he went out of his way to thank Xi on Tuesday for his efforts.
“I applaud China for breaking off all banking relationships with North Korea – something that people would have thought unthinkable even two months ago. I want to thank President Xi,” Trump said at a news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
At the same time, Trump’s national security team is conducting a broad review of U.S. strategy toward China in search of ways to counter Chinese trade practices and open up market access, a senior administration official said.
The United States also considers Chinese entities behind the theft of intellectual property and cyber attacks and wants to find ways to address these concerns, the official said. There was no definite timetable for concluding the review. “We’re looking at all of it,” the official said.