Trump promises major statement on North Korea and trade
The President announced this in the Philippines, where he came to attend the ASEAN Summit
MANILA – President Donald Trump said he will make a “big announcement” on trade when he returns to Washington after a 12-day trip to five Asian countries.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in the Philippines on Monday, Trump said, “We have made great progress in trade.” He added that his Asian tour resulted in “$ 300 billion in sales to various companies including China”. However, he did not provide any details of the upcoming announcement..
His statement was made at a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Japan and Australia in the fields of ASEAN. Trump said they discussed trade, North Korea and other topics.
Earlier, as regional leaders gathered for the colorful opening ceremony of the annual ASEAN summit, this time in Manila, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte bypassed the sensitive issue he raised about the fight against illegal drugs..
Opening the plenary session of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Leaders Summit on Monday, he described illegal drugs as a threat that endangers “the very fabric of our society,” without mentioning how to combat these crimes..
“I apologize for setting the tone of my statement in this way, but I just want to emphasize that our meetings in the next two days will be an excellent opportunity for us to have serious discussions on issues of regional and international importance,” Duterte said, addressing the heads of 17 other states and also mentioning recent clashes with Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines and the broader threat of terrorism.
Duterte and his war on drugs
Asian experts suggest that President Donald Trump will not raise issues of human rights and extrajudicial killings in meetings with Duterte.
“I’m sure he won’t discuss it,” Duterte said on Sunday.
Human rights groups are concerned about reports that Philippine police have killed between three and seven thousand alleged drug addicts and drug dealers in raids across the country – a campaign that was one of the president’s top campaign promises..
Earlier this year, Trump told Duterte he was doing “a great job” and has not yet openly criticized the Filipino leader for a reported campaign of violence in the country..
Duterte once insulted former President Barack Obama by calling him “the son of a whore.” He also bragged that he killed a man when he was 16 for giving him the wrong look..
Apart from comments on the DPRK, the topic of human rights was hardly raised during Trump’s trip to Asia..
Protests for Trump’s arrival
Trump arrived in Manila on Sunday. About 3,500 demonstrators tried to march to the US Embassy, but were stopped by special police forces. Protesters demanded that Trump leave and accused the US government of seeking to start wars abroad. Recall that the Philippines was dependent on the United States for about 50 years..
One of the posters read: “To Trump’s Landfill – Terrorist Number One!”
Another group of demonstrators at 10 a.m. Monday moved to the site of the summit near Manila Bay, one of the organizers said..
Vietnam: Trump’s visit is a powerful impetus for bilateral relations
Before heading to Manila, Trump met with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi. Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting, Trump said: “For trade to work, all countries must play by the rules. I am encouraged that Vietnam has recently become the fastest growing market for US exports. “.
“I am confident that American energy, agriculture, financial services, aviation, digital commerce and defense products can meet all your commercial needs,” he added..
Speaking to Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi, Trump said: “To reflect on where we are and where we have come is to pay tribute to both countries. Trade has become a very important element of our relationship “.
Quang described the meeting with Trump as “an important milestone in Vietnamese-American relations, which created a powerful impetus for the meaningful, effective and stable development of the bilateral comprehensive partnership.”.
Trump and Quang also discussed North Korea and the situation in the South China Sea. Trump reiterates North Korea as the main threat to peace and stability in the region.
“As I said in my speech to the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, all responsible countries must take action so that the North Korean rogue regime stops threatening the world with unthinkable loss of life. We want stability, not chaos, we want peace, not war, “said the American leader..
On Sunday, Trump responded via Twitter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who once again called the US president an “old senile”.
“Why does Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old’ when I never call him ‘fat shorty’? I try so hard to make friends with him, and maybe one day it will happen! ” – he wrote.
In a meeting with Quang, Trump also offered his services as a mediator in disputes over the South China Sea. When asked about this proposal at a press conference, Quang said only that Vietnam is seeking a peaceful settlement of the problem through negotiations in accordance with international law..
Trump arrives in Hanoi from Da Nang, Vietnam, where he attended the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.
The President said he had discussed with APEC leaders previous agreements, which he said led to unfavorable trade imbalances for the United States..
“It’s a shame. And I don’t blame any of these countries. I blame the people who represented us, who didn’t know what they were doing, because they shouldn’t have let that happen, ”he said..
At the closing session of the APEC summit, representatives of the 21 member countries of this forum adopted a statement in which they supported free trade and closer regional ties. At the same time, the document does not mention the Trump doctrine “America in the first place”.
The talks in Manila will likely discuss North Korea, the situation around the South China Sea and terrorism as seen in the context of Southeast Asia. Many hope Trump will offer stronger trade and security ties with the region, but doubt he will speak at the summit about any expected results of such cooperation..
On Friday, Trump and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, showed starkly contrasting approaches to developing trade in Asia, speaking to the region’s business community..
Addressing the business leaders gathered at the APEC summit, Trump expressed his willingness to enter into bilateral trade agreements with any country in the Indo-Pacific region, but strongly rejected multilateral agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he abandoned in his early days in office..
The President said that he will conclude agreements with states that want to become partners with the United States, but only “on the principles of free and mutual trade.” Trump said the US will no longer sign agreements that “tie our hands, renounce our sovereignty, and make it nearly impossible to seriously enforce them.”.
The US president said that in the past, when his country “lowered market barriers, other countries did not open their markets” to American products. “We expect the markets to be equally open to both parties and that investments will be led by private investors, not government planners,” the president added..
Xi Jinping, the leader of a country whose economic growth has been driven by large-scale government planning, took to the stage in Da Nang just after Trump.
He supported the idea of multilateral agreements and, in particular, called for support for the creation of an Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area, which would harmonize regional and bilateral economic agreements..
China did not participate in the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, in which the United States and Japan played the main role, and which was seen as a defense against China’s strategic ambitions..