Trump hails ‘fan­tas­tic job’ on trans-Asia visit

Skips most of the Philip­pine sum­mit

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Don­ald Trump said he had done “a re­ally fan­tas­tic job” on a five-na­tion tour of Asia in which he had made a lot of friends, but he ended it abruptly Tues­day by skip­ping most of a Philip­pine sum­mit.

The US pres­i­dent, who be­gan his jour­ney in Ja­pan 12 days ago, said his trip had seen progress in his goal of nar­row­ing the US’ trade deficits.

“I’ve made a lot of friends at the high­est level,” Trump told re­porters shortly be­fore board­ing Air Force One in Manila, adding the trip was “tremen­dously suc­cess­ful.”

“I think the fruits of our la­bor are go­ing to be in­cred­i­ble,” he said, later pre­dict­ing an al­ready un­veiled $300 bil­lion worth of trade deals “is go­ing to be quadru­pled very quickly” to over a tril­lion dol­lars.

He of­fered no ev­i­dence for this as­sess­ment.

“It’s been a re­ally great 12 days,” he said. “I think we have done a re­ally fan­tas­tic job.”

Be­fore leav­ing, Trump gath­ered briefly with 18 other world lead­ers ahead of the start of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) Sum­mit, the fi­nal set piece of his trip.

Trump had ini­tially planned to skip the sum­mit, then back­tracked af­ter crit­i­cism it could be seen as a snub. But he did not stay for the of­fi­cial start of the sum­mit on Tues­day af­ter­noon, also miss­ing the pre­ced­ing group photo with his fel­low lead­ers.

US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son sat in for him at the sum­mit, which was sched­uled to run into the evening.

The sum­mit groups the 10-mem­ber ASEAN na­tions with Aus­tralia, China, In­dia, Ja­pan, South Korea, New Zealand and Rus­sia, as well as the US.

In a trip that was dom­i­nated by the North Korean nu­clear cri­sis, Trump was treated to pomp and pageantry in Ja­pan and South Korea, where he re­peat­edly blasted North Korea.

Aboard Air Force One, he claimed suc­cess “in terms of North Korea and get­ting ev­ery­body to­gether. I think their acts are all to­gether.”

In Beijing, where Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping rolled out the red car­pet for a “state visit plus” – a wel­come Trump de­clared “peo­ple re­ally have never seen any­thing like” – the White House trum­peted more than $250 bil­lion of trade deals.

En route to Hawaii, Trump was bullish, pre­dict­ing a rapid clos­ing of the US trade deficits. “I think one of the things we re­ally ac­com­plished big is re­la­tion­ship, and also let­ting peo­ple know that from now on, things are go­ing to be re­cip­ro­cal,” he said.

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