Asian view­ers give nod to Clin­ton af­ter de­bate

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By AGEN­CIES

Hil­lary Clin­ton put Don­ald Trump on the de­fen­sive and showed a bet­ter grasp of for­eign pol­icy is­sues, ac­cord­ing to a sam­pling of peo­ple across Asia who watched the fiery first US pres­i­den­tial de­bate.

In China, the de­bate was streamed live on the coun­try’s Twit­ter-like Weibo ser­vice and at­tracted thou­sands of com­ments.

Some called Trump “a loose can­non”, while oth­ers thought that as a busi­ness­man he was best qual­i­fied to lead the world’s largest econ­omy.

Trump raised eye­brows among a packed crowd watch­ing the de­bate at The Amer­i­can Club in Sin­ga­pore when he lashed out against China.

“Look at what China is do­ing to our coun­try,” Trump said not long af­ter the de­bate be­gan. “They are de­valu­ing their cur­rency and we have no­body in our govern­ment to fight them ... They are us­ing our coun­try as a piggy bank to re­build China, and many other coun­tries are do­ing the same thing.”

Landy Eng, a for­mer Cal­i­for­nia govern­ment worker who has been liv­ing in Sin­ga­pore in the past 20 years, said he was an un­de­cided voter. “But Trump’s China-bash­ing is some­thing I’m not par­tic­u­larly in fa­vor of,” he said.

Eng said he does like the “dis­rup­tive” fac­tor of Trump’s cam­paign.

“Hil­lary is the kind of per­son you can do busi­ness with, at least from my point of view,” said Aloy­sius Lee, 65, a re­tiree from Hong Kong. With Trump, “you don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen next, you don’t know what he’s go­ing to say next”.

Wil­liam Hua, a Chi­nese lawyer who watched the de­bate in Bei­jing, said he thought Clin­ton pre­vailed. “Don­ald Trump says Ja­pan and South Korea can de­velop nu­clear weapons? It seems ab­so­lutely ridicu­lous,” Hua said.

Trump said in an in­ter­view with The New York Times in March he would con­sider let­ting Ja­pan and South Korea build their own nu­clear weapons, rather than rely on Amer­ica for pro­tec­tion against North Korea.

A CNN poll re­leased af­ter the event found 62 per­cent of de­bate view­ers felt Clin­ton won com­pared to 27 per­cent for Trump.

In a sign that in­vestors also saw Clin­ton as the winner, US S&P 500 stock fu­tures rose as did Asian shares. “Mar­kets started to call the de­bate for Hil­lary within the first 15 min­utes or so, with the Mex­i­can peso surg­ing in what is prob­a­bly its busiest Asian ses­sion in years,” said Sean Cal­low, a se­nior cur­rency an­a­lyst at West­pac in Syd­ney.

The Mex­i­can cur­rency has fluc­tu­ated, de­pend­ing on poll num­bers for Trump, who has vowed to take trade pro­tec­tion­ist mea­sure against the US’ south­ern neigh­bor and build a wall across the bor­der to stem il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

South Kore­ans, watch­ing the de­bate on TV screens in the lobby of Seoul’s cen­tral train sta­tion, said they were with Clin­ton on the is­sues.

“Trump has ideas of with­draw­ing US forces from our coun­try, and in terms of na­tional se­cu­rity, Trump is a threat­en­ing fig­ure,” said Lee Hyo-jin, 26. “So I sup­port Hil­lary,” she said.

Trump dur­ing the de­bate again said if US al­lies like Ja­pan and South Korea “don’t pay their fair share, they may have to de­fend them­selves or help us out”.

She ig­nores his barbs and at­tacks; he gets baited by ev­ery one of hers.”

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