NPR

Trump In Asia: A 'Rebalance' Toward Trade

The Trump administration's engagement with Asia has matched the Obama administration's. What's changed are the priorities: elevating commercial issues to equal or higher priority than security issues.
Asian leaders and President Trump pose for a photo during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Manila on Monday. Source: Manan Vatsyayana

As President Trump nears the end of his five-country and multiple-summits Asia trip — the most expansive visit to Asia in 25 years by a sitting U.S. president — one might well ask, as Monty Python does in The Meaning of Life, "What's it all about?"

The trip has provided a bewildering message of impulses, priorities, pronouncements and tweets, but one theme stands out: The Trump administration intends to push for fair and reciprocal trade and economic practices from allies and nonallies alike.

It is the only major consistency among the president's campaign rhetoric, policy pronouncements and administration actions to date. Even his lavish praise for the progress of regional countries seems designed to reinforce the message that Asia has

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR1 min read
Sunday Puzzle: City Sounds
NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro and Weekend Edition Puzzlemaster Will Shortz play a word game with KANW and KUNM listener Kirstie Newman of Santa Fe, N.M.
NPR2 min read
For Mongolia's Ice Shooters, Warmer Winters Mean A Shorter Sports Season
This season's final competition, originally scheduled for mid-March, had to be bumped up by two weeks. "The river was already melting," the town's mayor explained.
NPR8 min read
'Game Of Thrones' Season 8, Episode 2: 'Think Back To Where We Started'
On the eve of the biggest battle yet, the series pauses for an episode that delivers old-school Game of Thrones thrills: characters talking in rooms — including a milestone Jaime/Brienne moment.