Trump meets with al­lies as his Asia trip winds down

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - NEWS -

MANILA, Philip­pines — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is wind­ing down his lengthy Asia trip with an in­ter­na­tional sum­mit and a se­ries of meet­ings with Pa­cific Rim al­lies, in­clud­ing his host in the Philip­pines who is over­see­ing a bloody drug war.

Trump jointly met with Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Mal­com Turn­bull, with whom he had a con­tentious phone call last win­ter, and Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, who hosted the pres­i­dent in Tokyo ear­lier in the trip. Trump raved about his ac­com­plish­ments on his five-na­tion jour­ney, in­clud­ing on trade and North Korea, but said he would wait un­til his re­turn to Wash­ing­ton on Wed­nes­day to elab­o­rate with a “ma­jor state­ment.”

“We’ve made some very big steps with re­gard to trade — far big­ger than any­thing you know,” Trump told re­porters at the be­gin­ning of the meet­ing in Manila, tout­ing busi­ness deals forged be­tween U.S. and for­eign com­pa­nies.

“We’ve made a lot of big progress on trade. We have deficits with al­most ev­ery­body. Those deficits are go­ing to be cut very quickly and very sub­stan­tially,” Trump said.

“Ex­cept us,” Turn­bull chimed in, to laughs.

“You’re the only one,” Trump re­sponded. Trump also said the trip had been “very fruit­ful” for the United States and pointed to the warm wel­comes he had re­ceived in cap­i­tals like Tokyo, Seoul and Bei­jing.

The open­ing cer­e­monies of the As­so­ci­a­tion for South­east Asian Na­tions con­fer­ence be­gan with pageantry, in­clud­ing a group photo of the lead­ers and the sum­mit’s tra­di­tional hand­shake. That cross-body hand­shake, dur­ing which each leader shakes the op­po­site hands of those next to him or her, briefly baf­fled Trump, who then laughed as he fig­ured out where to place his arms.

One of the lead­ers on his flank: Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, who has over­seen a bloody drug war that has fea­tured ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings. The two men are also slated to hold longer, for­mal talks later to­day and White House aides sig­naled that Trump is not ex­pected to pub­licly bring up hu­man rights in their dis­cus­sions.

Trump will also meet with Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi of In­dia, which plays a key role in the U.S. vi­sion of an Indo-Pa­cific re­gion that at­tempts to de-em­pha­size China’s in­flu­ence. And he is slated to have din­ner with Turn­bull.

Associated Press

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, left, shakes hands with Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte on Sun­day at an ASEAN Sum­mit din­ner at the SMX Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Manila.

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