Trump touts trade gains in 5-na­tion Asian swing

Tempo - - News -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump yes­ter­day lauded his trade achieve­ments dur­ing a five-na­tion tour of Asia, promis­ing he would re­veal “far big­ger’’ steps when he re­turned to Wash­ing­ton.

The US pres­i­dent has fre­quently be­moaned what he calls “un­fair’’ in­ter­na­tional trade deals and a per­ceived lack of re­spect for Amer­ica and its lead­ers.

But stand­ing along­side the prime min­is­ters of Ja­pan and Aus­tralia in Manila yes­ter­day, he said that was all chang­ing.

“The way they’ve treated us, the re­spect that Ja­pan and China and South Korea, in par­tic­u­lar – be­cause we went there – have treated us has been re­ally a great re­spect for the peo­ple of our coun­try, the peo­ple of the United States,’’ he said.

“And we very much ap­pre­ci­ate it, I will say that. It was red car­pet like no­body, I think, has prob­a­bly ever re­ceived. “And that re­ally is a sign of re­spect, per­haps, for me a lit­tle bit, but re­ally for our coun­try.’’

Trump was lav­ished with praise dur­ing his time in Tokyo, Seoul, and Bei­jing, in what an­a­lysts said was a de­lib­er­ate strat­egy of flat­tery.

In Ja­pan, he golfed with Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and world No. 4 Hideki Mat­suyama, and met the revered Em­peror Ak­i­hito.

In South Korea, he was treated to clam­orous ap­plause dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary ad­dress, on the first state visit by a US leader in a quar­ter of a cen­tury.

In Bei­jing, he toured the For­bid­den City with Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping as part of an ex­trav­a­gant “state visit-plus’’ that also in­cluded a performance of Pek­ing Opera.

But ob­servers say the con­crete ac­com­plish­ments from the tour are few, with the ban­ner $250 bil­lion of trade agree­ments an­nounced in Bei­jing not quite what it was cracked up to be.

An anal­y­sis by Bloomberg News said the roughly 15 agree­ments are mostly non-bind­ing mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing. Many will take years to bear fruit, if they ever do.

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