‘Rocket man’, trade top Trump’s Asia agenda

US President Donald Trump is to take his tough talk abroad from Friday as he makes his first trip as president to Asia, where the looming threat of North Korea’s nuclear programme looks set to dominate his agenda.
The trip through November 14 is Trump’s longest foray abroad and will take him to key allies that the US has sought to reassure in the face of North Korean missile and nuclear tests and to China, where he will push President Xi Jinping to do more to lean on Pyongyang to comply with its international obligations.
Trump will also attend regional summits in Vietnam and the Philippines, providing insight into the US role in the region under a leader that vowed to put “America First” and withdrew from a major regional trade deal shortly after entering office in January.
The 12-day trip will take him to the US Pacific island state of Hawaii, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
North Korea will be a major focus, as Trump works to win support from regional partners, particularly China, to pressure Pyongyang.
In Japan beginning November 5, Trump will meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, US troops and the family members of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea.
The November 7-8 stop in South Korea will feature a bilateral meeting with Moon, meetings with troops and an address to the National Assembly.
Trump will arrive in Beijing on November 8 for meetings with Xi on North Korea and trade issues in what the Chinese government is calling a “state visit-plus” thanks for Trump’s hosting of Xi at his Mar-a-Lago resort in April.
Trump has alternated between praising China on North Korea and saying he is disappointed they are not doing more, while also targeting Beijing for unfair trade practices by taking aim at dumping of steel and other goods on the US market.
Trade will also feature heavily in Trump’s conversations at regional summits for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Vietnam on November 10 and the Association of South-East Asian Nations(ASEAN) in the Philippines on November 13.
Trump meanwhile has left allies wondering where they stood with the United States after he nixed US involvement in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and called for the renegotiation of a US-South Korea trade agreement.
One potential sticking point will come as Trump meets Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit,despite long-standing US concerns about his human rights record and extrajudicial killings as part of a crackdown on drug trafficking. — dpa