Trump's Trade Barbs Push Asian Nations Closer to China's Orbit

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 09:51:10 AM. For years, smaller nations in Asia have looked to the U.S. to provide a counterweight to an increasingly powerful China. Under President Donald Trump, they are learning to fend for themselves.
For years, smaller nations in Asia have looked to the U.S. to provide a counterweight to an increasingly powerful China. Under President Donald Trump, they are learning to fend for themselves. Trump declared his 11-day swing through Asia a success before heading home on Tuesday, saying that “all Countries dealing with us on TRADE know that the rules have changed.” On each stop, he devoted most of his time to trade deficits, moving away from a U.S. strategy since World War II to enhance economic linkages in Asia as a way of boosting security ties and deterring conflict. Trump in Beijing on Nov. 8. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg The approach is a sharp contrast with former U.S. President Barack Obama, who announced a pivot to Asia backed up by an increased military presence and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Trump subsequently called for U.S. allies to pay more for security, and immediately withdrew from the TPP. The U.S.’s emphasis on negotiating -- and revising -- deals that put “America First” is raising alarms in a region where China is already the top trading partner for most countries. As frictions with the U.S. grow under Trump, smaller countries are searching for new solutions to avoid becoming overly dependent on China for economic gains. That was seen over the weekend when Japan, in particular, pushed to revive the TPP. The 11 remaining members announced a framework agreement on the pact while Trump was in Vietnam defending his decision to shun such...Read more
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