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Trump urges Asian nations to protect Strait of Hormuz oil tanker traffic

President Trump complained via Twitter on Monday that Asian nations heavily reliant on oil passing through the Strait of Hormuz weren’t doing enough to safeguard tanker traffic.

"[W]hy are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation. All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been a dangerous journey."

Why it matters: It’s the latest wrinkle in the escalating tensions with Iran around the Strait of Hormuz — presumably what Trump meant when he cited nations’ reliance on the "Straight."

  • The narrow passageway near where two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman this month is the world’s biggest oil chokepoint, handling nearly 19 million barrels per day of oil, as well as major traffic in other oil products and LNG.

Trump also asserted via Twitter that "We don’t even need to be there in that the U.S. has just become (by far) the largest producer of Energy anywhere in the world!"

Reality check: It’s true that U.S. imports from the Middle East are at their lowest levels in decades thanks to the U.S. domestic production surge.

  • But the U.S. remains deeply connected to global oil markets. A major conflict in the region, especially one that disrupted oil traffic, would cause prices to jump, affecting U.S. businesses and consumers.

Separately, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said via Twitter that he held "productive" talks with the Saudi king Monday on the "need to promote maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz."

Go deeper: Strait of Hormuz tensions underscore oil market’s global scope