TRUMP TO SKIP INDIA IN ASIA TOUR
WASHINGTON:The White House on Friday announced President Donald Trump will travel to Asia in November, which will take him to China and four other nations but not India. But the trip could lead to a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Manila that the American leader will attend.
Although India has not made any announcement, Modi is expected to attend the regional summit too, given the “act East Asia” push he unveiled at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in 2014 and returned to participate in every summit since — the last in 2016.
If Modi and Trump do meet in Manila, it will be their third encounter so far — first in June in Washington DC followed by an “impromptu interaction” at the July G20 summit in Germany.
It will be their first meeting since Trump unveiled his South Asia policy urging India to play a larger role in Afghanistan.
Trump’s first Asia trip as president on November 3 -14 will take him to China and Vietnam and allied countries Japan, South Korea and Philippines. He will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Dan Nang, Vietnam, and Asean summit in Manila, Philippines.
“The President will participate in a series of bilateral, multilateral, and cultural engagements,” the White House said in a statement announcing the trip and the Apec and Asean meetings, “demonstrating his continued commitment to the alliances and partnerships of the United States in the region.” Trump, who will also be accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, will “discuss the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region to America’s prosperity and security”, said the White House, a possible reference to the South China Sea disputes involving Beijing’s aggressive claims in the region.