Donald Trump’s bombastic exchanges with North Korea over its weapons program, and his tirades against the Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, have left this country feeling a little less secure. The government here in Seoul will want the President to reassert the US – South Korean alliance, supporting the Free Trade Deal, and whilst standing firm against Pyeongyang, not shutting the door to diplomacy either.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made himself President Trump’s “best friend” in Asia. But that ‘groupie-like’ behavior, really betrays how worried Mr Abe really is. Why? Because President Trump’s slogan is “America first!”, where does that leave America’s oldest Asian ally?
Donald Trump has already called Xi Jinping the “King of China” so who knows what this visit will bring. But in theory, trade relations and dealing with North Korea’s nuclear weapons should be at the forefront of discussions here in Beijing.
The Obama administration worked hard to improve ties with America’s old foe. What Vietnam wants from President Trump is essentially ‘more of the same’. Military cooperation between the two countries is gradually increasing. Vietnam wants America engaged in the region as a counterweight to China, and President Trump will want Vietnam to cut its 30 billion dollar trade surplus by buying more American products.
Top of the agenda? Improved relations. When President Obama criticized this administration’s war on drugs, his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte called him “a son of a whore.” But things are very different under Donald Trump. He’s gone out of his way to praise Mr Duerte’s “unbelievable job” on drug problem. Expect charm offensives, and cheery photo ops.