When Trump Went To China, "America First" Blindness v. Visionary Xi

Observing that North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes threaten the entire world, he called on all nations to join the U.S. in ensuring the complete, verifiable, and total denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. "But optically. he can tell people that because he went to China with business leaders, he was able to come back with a gift". It began on May 20 when he chose Ryadh, the capital of the medieval kingdom and ground zero of Muslim extremism, as his first overseas visit after taking office and has ended with his embrace of the Philippines' murderous president Rodrigo Duterte, with time out to outrage the US's intelligence community by his fawning embrace of former KGB Colonel Vladimir Putin, who, wide-eyed, told Trump he had nothing to do with sabotaging the U.S. election that brought Trump to power.

The president addresses the media, world leaders, during Asia trip.

Things only got worse as Trump journeyed on to Vietnam to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and, as it turned out, deliver a speech full of the tough, zero-sum trade talk that was a staple of his campaign rallies.

While the American and Chinese leaders seem to like each other, and each has worked hard to cultivate the other, in the last analysis they serve different interests.

Before his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, for example, Trump had a brief contretemps with Turnbull over trade imbalances after he asserted that the United States ran deficits with "almost everybody".

China has played the shrewder card so far, building its economic power on the back of America and its allies and using the strength acquired (including military) to challenge American power in the region.

This library confirms the message China was already sending the world in 2005, at an exhibition organized by the Chinese government at London's Royal Academy of Arts. That is true of both North Korea and the trade issue.

TRUMP: People don't realize Russian Federation has been very, very heavily sanctioned. "And that's a good thing that we get along; that's not a bad thing".

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier this week that Trump would announce at the end of his trip his decision whether or not to officially re-list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. He can not solicit Chinese cooperation on one vital issue and threaten China on another.

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The senior official added that Trump would also voice American concerns about the "militarization of features in the South China Sea".

One of Trump's aides marvelled at the sheer size of China's claims in the South China Sea, noting that Air Force One flew for three hours over these contested waters on its way from Hanoi, Vietnam to Manila. Should Washington's goal be to unite Asian countries, particularly its democracies, to counterbalance China?

Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinpingat the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017. Duterte stopped construction last week on a sandbar in disputed waters, as part of a broader effort to draw closer to Beijing.

"It was a red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever seen", Donald Trump declared approvingly.

A November 12 Tweet by Trump might point to Trump's change in strategy.

It is understandable that some long-standing issues between the two countries, such as United States concern for market access and intellectual property and Chinese concern for excessive scrutiny of Chinese investment in the United States and restriction of high-tech exports to China, won't be resolved during this visit.

"We've had a great relationship", he said. The question, they said, is whether his mixed messages will open the door further for China's incursions in the region.

In South Korea's National Assembly, Trump offered a nuclear ultimatum of sorts to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who has been taunting his neighbors and the U.S.by testing missiles in waters off Japan and not far from US overseas territories. "But the U.S.is no longer driving the agenda".

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