‘Pragmatic Trump committed to Asia’
> Aussie PM says US president-elect will maintain presence in region
SYDNEY: President-elect Donald Trump is committed to enhancing US military power and maintaining its presence in Asia, Australia’s prime minister said yesterday after “warm and frank” talks with the maverick tycoon.
Under President Barack Obama, the US has pursued a foreign policy “pivot” towards the Asia-Pacific, including stationing marines in Australia, against the background of Beijing’s increasing assertiveness.
But there has been concern about what direction bombastic Republican Trump will take in foreign policy after he trashtalked US alliances during his acrimonious election campaign against Hillary Clinton.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who like Trump has a business background, said the billionaire was “a deal maker and he will, I have no doubt, view the world in a very practical and pragmatic way”.
During a telephone conversation, the pair “discussed the vital importance of the US’ continued strong presence in our region”.
“Nations have enduring national interests and I have absolutely no doubt the commitment of the US to the alliance, its presence in the region, its commitment to its allies and our neighbours will continue,” Turnbull said.
“We agreed that that presence has been an absolutely essential foundation of the peace and stability that has enabled the remarkable growth and prosperity, the remarkable economic growth we have seen over the last 40 years.”
Turnbull added that Trump, who will take control of the world’s sole superpower in 10 weeks, was committed to expanding the US military as he faces up to security threats around the world.
While the two allies found common ground on security matters, it seems the sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, which Australia supports, is doomed. The deal between 12 Asia-Pacific countries has been signed but not yet ratified by lawmakers in the US and with Trump running his campaign on an antifree trade message, Turnbull admitted it did not look good. – AFP
A newspaper seller holds a copy of the Jawa Pos with an article about Trump's win, in Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday. The headline reads ‘Why Trump?’