Trump heads home af­ter ‘tremen­dously suc­cess­ful’ Asia trip

Malta Independent - - FEATURE -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump headed for home Tues­day fol­low­ing an ex­ten­sive tour of Asia that he said had been “tremen­dously suc­cess­ful” and had put the world on no­tice that the “rules have changed” for coun­tries that want to trade with the U.S.

Trump also teased a “ma­jor state­ment” on trade and the trip later this week at the White House, where he is ex­pected to pro­mote con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans’ plan to over­haul the na­tion’s tax code.

As Air Force One rolled down the run­way in Manila, Trump told the re­porters trav­el­ing with him that “it’s been a re­ally great 12 days.” And on trade, the pres­i­dent said con­fi­dently that U.S. trad­ing part­ners “will be treat­ing us much dif­fer­ently than be­fore.”

“I think the fruits of our la­bor are go­ing to be in­cred­i­ble, whether it’s se­cu­rity of our na­tions, whether it’s se­cu­rity of the world or whether it’s trade,” Trump said.

Trump, who cam­paigned for of­fice on a prom­ise to tear up mul­ti­lat­eral trade agree­ments that he said have harmed the U.S., in­sisted dur­ing the nearly two-week trip that multi­bil­lion-dol­lar deficits that fa­vor U.S. trad­ing part­ners will be re­duced to zero, and that trade over­all must be fair and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial.

“The United States has to be treated fairly and in a re­cip­ro­cal fash­ion,” he tweeted Tues­day. “The mas­sive TRADE deficits must go down quickly!”

Trump pressed that point on ev­ery stop on the gru­el­ing tour of Ja­pan, South Korea, China, Viet­nam and the Philip­pines, blam­ing his pre­de­ces­sors for yawn­ing trade im­bal­ances and declar­ing that the United States will no longer be taken ad­van­tage of un­der his watch.

“We’ve had a tremen­dously suc­cess­ful trip,” Trump told re­porters be­fore de­part­ing his third sum­mit of the trip. “Tremen­dous amounts of work was done on trade.”

Trump said $300 bil­lion in deals had been reached, a sum he pre­dicted would more than triple in a short pe­riod of time.

“We ex­plained that the United States is open for trade but we want re­cip­ro­cal trade. We want fair trade for the United States,” he said.

The pres­i­dent also sounded a pos­i­tive note about Viet­nam, say­ing the coun­try had changed di­rec­tion and was now buy­ing at least $12 bil­lion worth of Boe­ing air­craft.

“The rea­son I like the Boe­ing is be­cause it’s jobs for the United States,” Trump said.

Trump also spoke warmly of the “many good friends” he had made on the trip, in­clud­ing Philippine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte.

Trump praised and joked around Mon­day with Duterte, who has over­seen a bloody crack­down on the il­le­gal drug trade that has fea­tured ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings, earn­ing the Filipino leader the con­dem­na­tion of hu­man rights groups.

Trump did not pub­licly take Duterte to task for the crack­down. Trump talked in­stead about their “great re­la­tion­ship.”

The White House later said they dis­cussed the Is­lamic State group, il­le­gal drugs and trade dur­ing a pri­vate meet­ing. Press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said hu­man rights is­sues were “briefly” dis­cussed. She was con­tra­dicted by Duterte’s spokesman, who said there was “no men­tion” of hu­man rights.

Hu­man rights ad­vo­cates have been alarmed by Duterte’s war on drugs, say­ing it has al­lowed po­lice of­fi­cers and vig­i­lantes to ig­nore due process and take jus­tice into their own hands. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials es­ti­mate that well over 3,000 peo­ple, mostly drug users and deal­ers, have died in the crack­down. Hu­man rights groups be­lieve the to­tal could be closer to 9,000.

Trump was in the Philip­pines to at­tend the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions con­fer­ence and the East Asia Sum­mit. He sought dur­ing both gath­er­ings to strengthen al­liances with Pa­cific Rim na­tions over trade and a shared de­sire for North Korea to aban­don its nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

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