Nov 3, 2017

Trump starts 5-country, 12-day Asia tour

President Trump waves as he boards Air Force One to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

President Trump is departing on the longest trip of his presidency today: a five-country, 12-day tour of Asia intended to strengthen international resolve to denuclearize North Korea, promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and advance economic partnerships through fair trade.

Why it matters: The stakes for this trip couldn't be higher. North Korea is more dangerous than ever, and China continues to steal U.S. intellectual property and demand that American investors hand over their technology to Chinese state entities. And political uncertainty remains at a high, as the administration continues to throw international trade agreements into flux.

Trump's underlying goal is to publicly reaffirm his commitment to the region and flex America's muscles in regard to the country's global influence.

Trump's travel itinerary, provided by a senior administration official during a briefing:

Stop 1: Hawaii
  • Trump travels to Hawaii on Nov. 3, where he'll receive a briefing from the U.S. Pacific Command, and visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.
Stop 2: Japan
  • Trump will arrive in Japan on Nov. 5., where he'll have several meetings that focus on promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
  • He'll later speak to American and Japanese service members at Yokota Air Force Base, before joining Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a round of afternoon golf.
  • Trump will also have a state call with the imperial family, and then participate in a day of bilateral meetings Abe.
  • Abe will host a meeting with families of Japanese citizens abducted by the North Korea regime.
  • On the evening of November 6, Abe is hosting a banquet for Trump and the traveling delegation.
Stop 3: South Korea
  • Trump travels to the Republic of Korea on November 7, where he'll meet with American and South Korean service members at Camp Humphreys before participating in bilateral meetings with President Moon Jae-In and attend a state dinner that evening.
  • On November 8, Trump will speak at the national assembly, where he'll celebrate the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea, and call on the international community to join in maximizing pressure on North Korea.
  • He'll later visit the national cemetery in Seoul to pay his respects to fallen service members.
Stop 4: China
  • Trump will arrive in Beijing for a state visit on Nov. 8 where he'll participate in series of bilateral commercial and cultural events, including meetings with President Xi Jinping. Trump will seek to secure China's commitments to exert more pressure on North Korea and to rebalance U.S.-China economic relations. A CEO delegation convened by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross will be present.
  • Overall goal: To send a clear message that for bilateral economic relations to be sustainable over the long-term, China must provide fair and reciprocal treatment to U.S. firms and cease predatory trade and investment practices.
  • Key quote, from a senior administration official: "China is now so large that its distortionary... the distortionary practices not only have effects within the U.S. market, but in markets around the world... The current trajectory is not sustainable."
Stop 5: Vietnam
  • Trump will travel to Da Nang, Vietnam, on Nov. 10, where he'll participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting and deliver a speech at the APEC CEO summit. (Note: APEC is a free trade forum for 21 Pacific Rim economies).
  • Goal of APEC speech: Reinforce the U.S. commitment to an equitable, sustainable, and rules-based international economic system based on market principles.
  • On November 11, Trump will travel to Hanoi for a state visit and bilateral engagements with president Trần Đại Quang and other senior Vietnamese leaders. This will be Trump's second meeting with Vietnamese leadership following Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc's White House visit in May.
Stop 6: The Philippines
  • Trump will arrive in Manila on Nov. 12 to participate in the special gala celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • On November 13, Trump will celebrate the 40th anniversary of U.S.-ASEAN relations at the association's summit, and participate in bilateral meetings with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
  • Goal at ASEAN summit: Advance US leadership in promoting an Indo-Pacific trade and security architecture based on freedom, openness, and adherence to rule of law.
  • Trump last-minute added an extra day onto his already long trip to attend the East Asia Summit, a major forum for political and economic cooperation among 18 member countries. His initial plan to be absent concerned experts, who warned it could signal a lower level of U.S. engagement in Asia-Pacific.

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