Asia Reacts to the Election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States

Share this:

On November 9, 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States in what many saw as a surprise upset over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. 

Click on a country to jump down to its specific reactions: AustraliaChinaHong KongIndiaIndonesiaJapanMalaysiaMyanmarNew ZealandPan-AsiaPhilippinesSingaporeSouth KoreaTaiwanThailand

To view additional topics in the Asia Reacts to... series, scroll down or click here


Australian experts express hope that previous relationships with some of President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet nominations could work in Australia's favor. 

"[E]even if the Trump administration walks away from the international architecture the United States was instrumental in creating, and abandons some of the finer precepts with which America has lead the world, our political class must avoid the temptation to allow our own political discourse to be infected by Trump. We must stick to our own values. They are ours. And in four years, America's outlook may revert to something with which we again have something in common."

"Far from the alliance being at risk, Australia is becoming more important to the United States for three reasons. First, a more assertive China is forcing harder strategic competition in Asia. Trump can’t walk away from that because American strategic interests are directly engaged – China’s growing military capability directly challenges America’s presence in the Pacific and Washington needs its allies to be part of a firm response. Secondly, Australia’s geographic position is becoming more important to the US. The growing range and lethality of Chinese military capability is designed to push American naval and air power as far away from the Chinese mainland as possible. Beijing’s strategy is working, with the effect that the US has to look for options to disperse its forces and their logistic support. [...] The third factor making Australia more important to the US is that we border the Indian Ocean region. As a tougher strategic competition spreads to the Indian Ocean, America will increasingly look to Australia to facilitate air and naval access to the region."

"For Australia and other US allies and partners in the region, this presidential election makes it clear that we can no longer — assuming we ever could — take coherent, smart American leadership for granted. We must do more for ourselves and work together more, while relying less on the US. [...] This does not mean that Australia should walk away from its alliance with the US. But we will need to be more sceptical of American policies and actions than in recent decades. Australia should become much more self-consciously independent, and assign much higher priority to building closer trade and security ties with Japan, South Korea, India, and especially Indonesia, our huge near neighbour."

"Australia needs to maintain its alliance with Washington. This is not to say, however, that our international policies can continue as they have. We now face a testing set of international circumstances, including an assertive China and a changeable America. We should sharpen our tools for dealing with the world. In order to protect the full breadth of our interests, Australia needs a wider diplomatic network and a more muscular Australian Defence Force. We also need a larger foreign policy. Relying so much on the US for our security is no longer an option. We need to try to shape our environment. This means diversifying our relationships. We will need to look for ways to co-operate with China, while accepting that there will be times when our paths need to diverge. And we must thicken our relationships with other Asian powers, including Japan, South Korea, India and Indonesia. We should work to strengthen international institutions, of which Trump is highly sceptical."

"Mr [Paul] Keating [former Labor Prime Minister] said Australia had maintained a tag-along foreign policy with the US and, with the election of Donald Trump as US president, it was time to get out. 'Isn't an independent, balanced foreign policy the right answer? Or do we stay in a crouch, saying Hail Marys to the alliance,' he told the ABC."

"There was a lot of push back in relation to career politicians. People who don't want to listen to the Australian people, or the American people in this case, certainly there is a message there for the government. It is a real kick up the butt to the left of politics and to the career politicians in the U.S and here." - Queensland based LNP MP Luke Howarth

"'But the Australian people should be reassured that the Australian government has been engaging closely with both teams - the Clinton team and the Trump team - to put us in the best position possible to focus on our national interest and our economic and security interest as they are affected by the United States.'"

 "'Countries in our region are looking for more US leadership and not less in the Asia-Pacific. [...] We have particular areas of interest that must align and we will do what we can to ensure the new US administration is focused on our region because that is in our national interest.'" - Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop 

"People are jaded with the way politics is done. The major political parties have lost touch with their bases and with their reasons for existence. While incomes in Australia have not stagnated for as long as they have in the US, growing inequality has fed resentment of both the established political order and the outside world. We have seen the phenomenon in the past here of voters not disclosing their voting intentions to pollsters – in past elections where One Nation did well – just as seems to have happened with Trump voters this time around. A difference between what has happened in Australia though, and what seems to be happening in the US, is that Trump appears to have created so much acrimony that it will be hard to see how he can actually either unwind it or even control it." 

"Jodie Willard lives in Florida with her American husband and two daughters. She recently became a citizen and voted for the first time in this election. 'It's hard to believe that America voted this way," Ms Willard said. 'I am worried about what this means for the future of America and the world. Unfortunately I think that America has moved backwards today. I hope I am wrong.'"

"'Trump's not sufficiently grounded on a lot of domestic issues and certainly on international issues. 'He's rather ignorant. I don't think he's a fool. He's quite shrewd. His knowledge base is not huge and that's a real problem. However, I don't think he will be a total disaster as some people see him. We can overshoot on how bad it is.'" - H.E. John McCarthy, former Australian ambassador to the United States

"This is an historic moment. It has been a long campaign, one that Australians have witnessed with awe - with consternation, indeed - from time to time. But let me reassure all Australians that the ties that bind Australia and the United States are profound, they are strong, they are based on our enduring national interests.'" - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull 

“'Whereas previous American leaders saw the advantages of global leadership, Trump is oblivious to them. Trump is violently allergic to America’s alliances. He derides an alliance network that helps Washington to project its influence and, in Asia, to keep a lid on interstate friction.'” - Dr. Michael Fullilove, Executive Director, Lowy Institute 


“'In the longer run, much will depend on how the new administration approaches Asia, and whether Cambodia—a second- or third-order priority for Washington—has a role in that. [...] The biggest possible danger for Cambodia is that an isolationist administration could rethink some of the trade preferences that have helped prop up Cambodia’s garment sector. [...] For years, Hun Sen has been frustrated by the constant lectures by Western governments about how he runs his country, and the fact that Cambodia so often seems to be ‘singled out’ for criticism over human rights violations. Now there’s a president-elect who has shown little interest in delivering these kinds of lectures.'" - Sebastian Strangio, Author, Hun Sen’s Cambodia


"We need to avoid groundless accusations and sentiment-based ridicule, because contempt for a powerful rival will backfire. America practices democracy in domestic politics and hegemony in foreign countries, and this duality may confuse us when studying the country. For us, it is one thing to resent its hegemony and another thing to critique its democracy: We can be emotive on the former, but we need to stick to rational academic critique when it comes to the latter. In other words, the study of America is not about researching American foreign policy or China-U.S. ties, much less the strange words of its political figure. We need to study from the perspective of American political ecosystem and learn about the logic and developmental trends of American politics."

"It should be known that Trump's withdrawal [from the Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP] announcement does not mean he wants to weaken US global leadership. Trump is a businessman and the TPP withdrawal is more from an economic perspective. The TPP will lead to job losses within the US. [...]  However, whether China can seize this opportunity is subject to many factors. First of all, domestically China's economy is facing serious downside pressure. Without good momentum in its domestic economy, China can hardly afford the cost of promoting trade liberalization. Second, China is continuing to deepen reforms in different areas. But carrying out the reforms still faces some problems. If China cannot operate according to the trading rules envisaged by itself, it will be difficult for China to recommend global trade solutions."

"Trump's campaign slogan is "Make America great again," which means he is pursuing the restoration of US strength and other people's respect for the country. He won't put much effort into deliberating long-term interests by playing geopolitical games like Obama's rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. Trump might see China's rise from a more pragmatic perspective based on concrete benefits. Both sides might grapple with each other over matters that concern the immediate interests of the US, but seek deeper cooperation in less disputed aspects."

"Indeed, some Chinese, including some highly educated ones, had campaigned for him enthusiastically, believing his Darwinist approach would benefit the Chinese who are known as a hardworking model minority. He would treat the Chinese nicely, several active Chinese Trump supporters assured me confidently. But they seem to have overlooked that the Trump movement has never been just about one person. He represents an ideology, you can call it Trumpism, that is influential for millions of Americans. Whether he likes or doesn't like Chinese immigrants personally won't matter too much in our everyday life. It's his millions of followers, our classmates, neighbors, colleagues and just the ordinary people on the street who understand or misunderstand his thoughts, that can do us much more harm."

"'I'm confident this [positive Sino-US relations] will continue. I think it will serve everybody's interests if we can continue to go forward on this track. China is ready and willing to work with any other partners for the continued stability and prosperity in the region, and we certainly see the US as an important partner." - H.E. Cui Tiankai, China's ambassador to the United States

"Trump as a shrewd businessman will not be so naïve. None of the previous presidents were bold enough to launch an all-out trade war against China. They all opted for a cautious line since it's most consistent with the overall interests of the US, and it's most acceptable to US society. Trump cannot change the pattern of interests between China and the US. The gigantic China-US trade is based on mutual benefits and a win-win situation. Even as president, Trump can exert limited influence on it."

Four Chinese experts weigh in on how the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States will affect US relations with China.

"The Liaowang Institute [...] said in a report that, judging by the content of Trump's presidential campaign speeches, his China policy would focus more on economic opportunities, rather than security challenges. [...] The report assumed Trump's remarks that he viewed China as a military threat were made only as lip service to garner support, and that he was very likely to introduce measures to reduce the US' military strategic presence abroad. This would, in turn, allow China to expand its field of influence in the Asia Pacific region."

“'I highly value the relations between China and the United States, and I am looking forward to working together with you to expand China-US cooperation in every field, at the bilateral, regional and global levels, on the basis of the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, with differences controlled in a constructive manner, so as to push China-US relations further forward from a new starting point, better benefiting the peoples of the two countries and other countries.'” - Chinese President Xi Jinping

"'The curtain has fallen with Trump's election today. It is a heavy blow to the Paris Agreement, which has just entered into force. Now we'll need to draft a new script for global climate leadership.'" - Wu Changhua, former China Director, Climate Group

"US Ambassador to China Max Baucus reassured his Chinese audience before the result that no matter who won, it would not affect China-US relations. And, of course, President-elect Trump may think differently than Trump the presidential candidate. But that does not mean there is no need for Beijing to brace itself for what lies ahead, even if Trump does prove to be more down-to-earth in handling ties with China."

"'Trump is unpredictable, but there will be ample room for China to improve bilateral ties with him in the White House.'" - Wang Yiwei, Senior Fellow, International Relations, Renmin University of China

"'Just like Ronald Reagan, Trump has no experience and will use common sense to run a country. It could be a good result for the US people as well.'" - Chu Yin, Professor, University of International Relations

"'Most Chinese experts are surprised by the result, because we too trusted the mainstream traditional US media, and we thought they would represent the majority and the elites. Social media was underestimated, so the anger from the grass-roots and the 'silent majority' against Wall Street and Washington DC finally pushed Trump into the White House.'" - Jin Canrong, Associate Dean, School of International Studies, Remin University of China

"The new president lacks diplomatic experience. His much touted business experience will in some form penetrate future US foreign policy. In turn, Sino-US relations may see dramatic renegotiations, including sharpened conflicts of interests. But Trump may be more focused on interested in the new type of China-US relations than outgoing President Barack Obama, who was deeply influenced by Clinton. Trump may not be as strongly adverse to a 'win-win' scenario with China as the previous US political establishment. Trump may resentfully have to cater to US elite groups, and but he will try to be 'tough enough' on China all the same. The future trajectory of Sino-US relations should not be determined by his character. China needs to safeguard its interests with its own strength. If Trump wants to target bilateral trade, he should first weigh the consequences of China's countermeasures."

"The relationship between China and the United States has by and large moved forward over the past eight years, and as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take over in Washington, he should work to maintain that momentum so that the world's most important bilateral relationship continues to advance."

"An online survey on Wednesday (Nov 9) as of 3pm by the Global Times tabloid showed 84 per cent of respondents picking Mr Trump over Mrs Clinton (9 per cent) as being the most beneficial to Sino-US relations in the next four years. There are no details on the total number of respondents taking part in the poll. [...] Others hailed the victory by Mr Trump, despite being widely derided as an ill-suited leader of the world's superpower, as a reflection of the failings of the Western-style democracy compared to the Chinese political system dominated by the CCP." 

"Trump is unlikely to fulfill his promises in terms of foreign policies. The US is a pluralistic democratic country. Trump, though elected, will be restrained by many factors and is not powerful enough to implement all his political ideas on his own. While Clinton advocates internationalism, encourages the US to bear more international responsibilities, and values cooperation with allies, the president-elect is known for his isolationist tendencies and prioritizing domestic interests over others. Trump's victory will negatively influence trade between China and the US, as Trump vowed to impose a 45-percent tariff on Chinese imports to the US. Many observers have raised concerns over an impending trade war, which will exert tremendous negative effects on the global economy and Sino-US relations." - Jin Canrong, Deputy Director, Center of American Studies, Renmin University of China

"His victory also shows that Americans detest the political establishment, both rife with corruption and lacking in credibility. In other words, the rifts between elites and grass-roots Americans have run so deep that there was no room for compromise. The establishment did not address people's needs and failed to earn their trust. Trump took the opportunity to win wide support from ordinary Americans with his anti-establishment and anti-elite views. Yet he is an elite. I believe he can rebuild the lost trust between the American people and elites." - Li Haidong, Professor, Institute of International Relations, China Foreign Affairs University


"Trump is strangely popular in China, may be more so than in his own country. We have Chinese chat groups like 'Donald Trump Super Fans Club' and 'God Emperor Trump'. A recent poll found that while only 13 per cent of respondents in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia wanted to see Trump elected, the support rate for Trump in China was 39 per cent. It may be the end of the world as we know it, but it’s going to be one hell of a ride to the apocalypse."


"India has a lot to gain also from the Trump presidency. Trump wants to woo skilled Indians, Indian entrepreneurs and students to the US. His hard stance against China and terrorism and India’s fast growing economy would ensure heralding of a new India-US era changing the long-term American perception of India being a Moscow ally as a continuation of the Cold War policies."

"The opinion in India though on the impact of Trump's perceived indifference to the Pivot‎ remains divided. According to strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney, India can hope to gain more from Trump presidency's geopolitical calculations in Asia as Obama's pivot was more rhetorical than real and because Trump is unlikely to give China a 'free pass' on either Beijing's manipulation of trade‎ or its incremental alterations of territorial status quo in South China Sea."

"'I have no doubt that Trump Sarkaar (government) and Modi Sarkaar will be the best friends and the two leaders will be unparalleled friends in the history of world leadership. There is a lot of commonality between India and the US. Trump will be the best President for India, he will be best friends with India.'" - Shalabh Kumar, Foundation, Republican Hindu Coalition

"The precise fall-out will take months to determine, but for Indians, there is both good and bad. Reforming the legal immigration system will help thousands of Indians, particularly well-educated ones already in the US, who feel short-changed since the current system favours illegal immigrants who are often beneficiaries of amnesty. There are thousands of Indians who are in limbo even after more than a decade of legal living in the US, and many of them voted for Trump in the hopes that his administration will fast track legal immigration that will benefit them. But the Trump campaign has also warned that their priority will be to protect "American jobs" - which means the reforms will pare down on the H-1B guest worker visa+ . These were originally meant to be used by companies to hire workers for jobs for which Americans were not available, but increasingly they have become a route to permanent immigration. Protectionists also allege that they have been used to displace American workers and spirit jobs out of the US."

"Finally, the third risk that India faces is the impact of heightened economic nationalism in the US. While Trump actively courted the Indian-American vote, gaining support from some right-wing Hindu Americans in particular, his rhetoric also targeted India (among other nations): ‘we’re being ripped off with China, ripped off with Japan, ripped off with Mexico at the border and then trade, ripped off by Vietnam, and by India, and by every country...India is taking our jobs.’ India is presently the fastest growing major economy in the world, but its merchandise exports fell in 20 out of the last 21 months, while year-on-year services exports fell 4.56% in July. Heightened tariffs on India, or a wider trade war, would be seen as a grievous blow. Trump has also expressed opposition to aspects of visa and immigration rules that benefit Indian IT firms; 62% of Indian IT exports go to the US, and visa restrictions could cause considerable disruption too."

"Perhaps, we allow ourselves to fantasise, he will be good for India because his unalloyed Islamophobia will make him the enemy of our enemy, Pakistan. Or perhaps it is his Sinophobia that will work in India’s favor, by putting our great economic rival on the back foot. Or just perhaps, his Hispanophobia would make him more welcoming to immigration from India, since he doesn’t, so far as we know, think we are all rapists. But the same forces of evolution that made it possible to step out of our caves in confidence also ensured that we recognised danger when we saw it – that, for instance, the large four-legged creature with striped skin and sharp teeth is not our friend, even if it is not currently looking malevolently in our direction. That Trump has directed his bile-heavy rhetoric at others, and occasional honey-coated words at us ('I love the Hindus!') should not conceal the danger he represents."

"But what does India really know about Trump’s idea of India, or India-US relations. The truth is, very little. Instead of the easy familiarity that Hillary Clinton would have brought to India-United States ties had she become President, New Delhi is now faced with a set of “unknown unknowns” with a Trump presidency. [...] For instance, Trump’s views on the most important achievement of India-US ties in the last 15 years, the India-US civilian nuclear deal, are a complete unknown. It is not clear if he knows other details about the complex and difficult relationships in South Asia. All there is right now is a set of random, sweeping broad brush statements made by Trump, adding up to nothing that resembles knowledge, or a policy on India, or a policy on the region.'" 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate Donald Trump on his election to become the 45th President of the United States. 

“'I believe President-elect Trump will be an enthusiastic proponent of an even better and stronger India-US relationship. India should not waste time in reaching out to Mr. Trump and his team in order to establish a durable understanding that will take the relationship forward in all sectors of relevance, including the strategic and economic.'” - H.E. Nirupama Rao, former Indian Ambassador to the United States

"Trump has used strong words on the need to curtail ISIS and curb immigration from countries that export terror. This would comfort India, which has seen a surge in support for ISIS among its young population. If Trump fulfils his promise of restricting immigration, that would further hurt Pakistan. But what would truly be eagerly watched by the Modi government in India is Trump’s controversial plan to establish a Commission on Radical Islam. Trump’s plan involves launching an ideological offensive that includes using the media as an instrument to inform people about the core ideology and convictions of radical Islam. Trump has also planned to expose networks in American society that promote radical Islam and rewarding people to report those exhibiting signs of radicalisation to authorities. This would come as a big boost to Modi government’s own domestic security policies which focusses on the need to curb growing Islamic radicalization in India. After coming to power, the Modi government has been proactive in using the National Investigative Agency (NIA) to apprehend people influenced by or supportive of ISIS. Trump’s ideological offensive against radical Islam could be a force multiplier for the Modi government. On the flip side, if Trump decides to walk the talk he could further alienate the Muslim community already apprehensive of a right wing government in India."

"Facing a China that is looking to establish regional dominance, India moved closer to the U.S. under President Barack Obama, shedding decades of reluctance that formed the core of its non-aligned policy. New Delhi is locked in a longstanding border dispute with Beijing, which is also a close economic and military ally of India’s rival neighbor Pakistan and is spreading its influence in India’s immediate vicinity. Jayadeva Ranade, a foreign-policy analyst in New Delhi, said the Asian landscape would likely change under a Trump presidency. Among the possible scenarios, he said, was a more inward-looking U.S. ceding space to China. Such a shift could prompt Asian powers like India, Japan and Vietnam to come closer together to prevent a China-dominant region, Mr. Ranade said, potentially raising tensions."


"With this in mind, Indonesians should not be worried about Trump. Washington has no valid reason to be hostile toward Jakarta. Indonesia is still continually important to the US’ strategic Asia policy. Good relationships between the two sides shaped by Obama are the modality for Trump to keep Indonesia in the loop. [...] Third, in nontraditional foreign policy areas, such as the fight against transnational terrorism and radicalism, Indonesia plays a significant role as a bilateral partner of the US. Trump, who showed unfavorable views about the Muslim world, cannot ignore that the more than 200 million Indonesian Muslims are not only a matter of numbers, but also of quality, in the US war on terror."

"First, Indonesia’s strategic importance does not change just because the White House has a new occupant. While Obama’s departure spells the end of our “special relationship”, Indonesia remains the key lynchpin — geopolitically, geostrategically, and geoeconomically — in a burgeoning Indo-Pacific regional order beset by strategic flux. [...] Whether Jakarta will be energetic at engaging a US president known for his hate-filled rhetoric against Muslims and minorities, however, remains a question mark. If the Bush “war on terror” years provide any indication, it is quite likely that Indonesian public opinion — and therefore domestic politics — will be unfavorable vis-à-vis the US."

"As a global superpower, the U.S. is pretty much a benchmark of progress, not only economically and technologically, but also in terms of the people's moral conscience. At a time when Indonesia is suffering from much of the socio-political illnesses Trump represents, I fear that Indonesia might lower its standards in fighting bigotry, racism, sexism, religious intolerance, military impunity, and of the law turning a blind eye to the rich's transgressions at the expense of the poor. I feel that we took one step back from making Indonesia human again, just because Uncle Sam has pawned humanity in the name of making America 'great' again." - Grace Susetyo

"What concerns me more is not Trump's victory per se, but the very obvious right wing uprising taking place in many parts of the world—not excluding our own country. The outcome of the U.S. election is just a small part of a much larger problem. Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, and that fact alone might incite conflicts with the U.S., especially if we consider the ever increasing wave of discrimination within Indonesia. Another thing that comes to mind is the likely decline in the number of Indonesian students going to American universities. Not only because they're not interested, but because they might also face difficulties in the application process or severe discrimination if they are accepted. Since the U.S. is still home to some of the best schools, collaborating with universities there might become more difficult." - Dwiputri Pertiwi

" President Barack Obama changed all that because of his childhood connections to Indonesia – and Donald Trump has only strengthened those sentiments with his anti-Muslim rhetoric, which left Hillary Clinton the clear favourite among 90 per cent of Indonesians surveyed in an SCMP poll this month. Little wonder then that her apparent defeat has been greeted with undisguised gloom in Jakarta and among the 8,500 Indonesian students in the US, the majority of whom attend universities in such Democrat bastions as California and Massachusetts."

"President Joko Widodo has congratulated Mr Donald Trump on winning the 2016 presidential elections and pledged that Indonesia will continue its 'mutually beneficial cooperation' with the United States. 'I also invite the President-elect of the United States to continue to work together to build peace and create prosperity for the world,' he added in a statement issued by his press secretary on Wednesday (Nov 9) night. Earlier in the day, Mr Joko had said he remains optimistic about US-Indonesia relations under a Trump presidency."


"'I do believe that without confidence between the two nations (the) alliance would never function in the future and as an outcome of today's discussion I am convinced Mr. Trump is a leader with whom I can have great confidence in.'" - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, upon concluding a meeting the Donald Trump on November 17, 2016, the first foreign leader to meet the president-elect in person since the election

"According to the poll, 62 percent of respondents felt it was “not good” that Trump was elected as the next U.S. president, outweighing 15 percent who felt that the outcome of the election was “good.” The poll result likely reflects the real estate mogul’s repeated remarks deprecating U.S. allies during election campaigning. Trump also claimed Japan should increase its burden of covering costs of U.S. forces stationed in Japan during his campaign. Asked about Japan’s burden of costs, 68 percent favored maintaining the status quo, while 24 percent said they believed the burden should be diminished. Only 5 percent favored increasing the burden."

"However, the Japan-US alliance still faces major adjustments after Trump takes office. During the presidential campaign, Trump cast doubt on Barack Obama's Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy. He intended to implement a policy of pulling back from the Asia-Pacific region since as a businessman he doesn't have strong ideology or a cold war mentality. He emphasizes pragmatism and hopes to earn more profits in global trade. He is clearly not willing to contain a rising China since that would be enormously expensive. It is generally acknowledged that Trump may gradually shrink the US presence in East Asia, which will be a double-edged sword for the US-Japan alliance. On the one hand, the US will reduce its control over Japan. On the other hand, America's political and military support for Japan will also be reduced."

"The Japan-U.S. alliance, as 'public asset' that has contributed to peace and stability in Asia, has helped ensure the security and diplomatic influence of the United States and served U.S. economic interests through trade and investment. If Trump aims to 'make America great again,' he should not overlook the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance."

"Japan must constantly think about why the Japan-U.S. alliance is necessary, what sort of international order Japan is seeking to create, and what roles it must fulfill to achieve that vision. The pending ascension of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency forces us to consider these things whether we like it or not."

"As it explores bilateral relations with the incoming U.S. administration, the Japanese government may not be able to count on business as usual, given the changing dynamics of American politics and popular sentiments that propelled Trump to his upset win over Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton. But the government also needs to avoid being swayed by what the president-elect has said or will say. Rather, the uncertainty should give a chance for Japan — not just the government but the public as well — to stop and think how we like to proceed in our relations with the U.S., including the security alliance."

"The Japanese government must continue to work with the U.S. government even if it is headed by Trump. The administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must forge lines of communication and connection with senior officials in the Trump administration, as well as a rapport between the two heads of state. Prime Minister Abe has the mysterious skill of getting along with people. If Abe can get along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, perhaps he won't find it difficult to strike up a cordial relationship with Trump. Japan must rush to run a character analysis on Trump and learn about his temperament and disposition. And when it comes down to it, Trump is a businessman. Japan has no choice but to seek what most benefits the U.S., and use that as a tool for negotiation. Since Trump appears to be someone who is moved to action by his personal connections to people, the most pressing task will be for Abe to create a relationship of trust with Trump."

Various Japanese newspapers weigh in on the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

"In the U.S., defense secretary and other cabinet posts change when a new administration takes over, but the chiefs of staff of the military branches and other specialists remain in place. Because they will provide advice, we cannot say for certain that U.S. security policy will change significantly under the Trump administration. Mr. Trump has mentioned the issue of cost-sharing for U.S. forces stationed in Japan, among other issues. Japan doesn't need to pander to these views, but nor should it deal with Trump based on a preconceived notion about him from his past remarks." - Ichiro Fujisaki, former Japanese ambassador to the United States 

"Trump’s warning that he could withdraw U.S. forces from Japan may suit Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, who is battling the central government over a Japan-U.S. agreement to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan to the Henoko district of Nago, also in the prefecture. [...] 'We would like to pay close attention while having high hopes,” Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga told reporters on the evening of Nov. 9 after Trump’s victory was confirmed. “We hope to visit the United States around February and convey our thoughts to him.'” 

"No presidential candidate before Trump had ever criticized the bilateral alliance or the security pact. Japan was able to develop rapidly after World War II, confident in the belief that the U.S. will be responsible for Japan's defenses, pouring limited resources into the economy. An isolationist U.S. policy under Trump could lead to fundamental questions concerning Japan's national security. Tokyo counts on its partnership with Washington as a deterrent against Chinese maritime expansion, as well as nuclear and missile development by North Korea. A challenge to this assumption could cause political instability in East Asia."

"'The stability of the Asia-Pacific region, which is a driving force of the global economy, brings peace and prosperity to the United States. Japan and the United States are unwavering allies tied firmly with the bond of universal values such as freedom, democracy, basic human rights, and the rule of law. I very much look forward to closely cooperating with you to further strengthen the bond of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, as well as for our two countries to play leading roles for assuring peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.'"

“'This is a person who has clearly expressed views that are discriminatory towards other races and religions, is anti-women and has announced that he wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. And that is even before we get to his economic policies. It’s frightening that he is going to be in control of the world’s largest economy for the next four years. I think he has won due to the sense of insecurity among so many people in the US, and he has played that up among people who fear for their jobs and their security.'” - Emi Doi, Journalist,

“'I’m really disappointed. America is a great power, so the result will inevitably have a tremendous effect (on the world). Japan-U.S. relations, I believe, won’t change immediately . .. But he doesn’t know anything about diplomacy, and he is also an amateur in politics. I’m worried about the future.'” - Shigeru Saito, 67,cram school English teacher

“'Really? Did Trump win? I’m very surprised. All the large-scale media outlets predicted Hillary Clinton’s win,” said Oshima. From what I’ve read and heard, there is nothing positive about this guy. So, based on what has been reported it’s worrisome. But, maybe all that information was biased in support of Clinton. I guess we’d better see his actions without any prejudice from now on.'” - Yoichi Oshima, 62

“'It’s unclear if Trump will repeat that line [that Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty covers the Senkaku Islands] , The U.S. protested China’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea and conducted freedom of navigation operations in the area, but it is unclear if the U.S. will continue to do so under Trump.'” - Fumiaki Kubo, Professor, American Politics,  University of Tokyo


"'This is important as it would provide the signal on what we can expect from the US government in future. We are however still optimistic of a good working relationship with the US. [...] We cannot rush in making assumptions as it would result in pre-judgment. We will have to wait and see.'" - Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Malaysia's Deputy Foreign Minister 

"To use an analogy, a maid certainly has a lot more to do and prove than a garbage collector. The former has to clean the place, create a good ambience and, critically, even one or two dirty spots will ruin the show. However, the guy who takes away your trash doesn’t have to present a sparkling clean façade. All he has to do is take away your rubbish. Which one is more fragile? Clearly, the maid has to work  very hard to achieve incremental levels of cleanliness and even minimal “disorder” (e.g. spilled ink) is ruinous for her. But the trash man’s job is relatively simple: He only has to throw away the garbage and even moderate levels of disorder (e.g. one or two scraps of paper around) is hardly damaging. Short of a major disaster (e.g. the garbage truck crashing and spilling everything onto the road), the trash guy’s work is a piece of cake. My point? Clinton was the maid, Trump was the trash dude."

"The situation in Malaysia as the 14th general elections draw closer, has some parallels with this worldwide backlash against liberalism and progressive ideas. The religious card is increasingly being used, both to keep the status quo and to justify the Islamist lobby that either wishes to dismantle democracy altogether, or to utilise democracy itself to realise their goal to place religious scriptures above the Federal Constitution. To this lobby, how someone as hostile to Islam as Trump could be voted in only demonstrates how fallible democracy is. On the other end — the Malaysian analogue to the American alt-right — are the Malay net-reactionaries who proliferate in social media, associated with vile ideas such as homophobia, anti-feminism and men’s rights activism."

"In the waning months of the election cycle, it was interesting how Trump supporters were targeted and singled-out for shame and ridicule by the liberal left. These events carried echoes of Malaysia’s division, as well. How many of us scoffed and ridiculed the two Red-Shirt protestors who were video-interviewed? How many of us made fun of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi when he couldn’t speak succinct English with a pretentious British accent? It is alarming that latte-sipping Malaysians who dwell in sprawling urban centres have started to insult and label Malaysians who live in more regional and rural places as being ignorant or uneducated. Disconnect in priorities, beliefs and values are expected between the urban and rural divide but this is something else entirely. [...] If we were to avoid an ugly general election and to alleviate deepening urban-rural divides, liberal, progressive, and urban Malaysians must start to understand and empathise with other Malaysians; they who watch TV3 and eat nasi lemak, unlike many of us who Netflix and enjoy ravioli genovese in Bangsar."

Local Malaysian officials react to Donald Trump's election as the 45th President of the United States.

“'During the campaign they say many things, among others on the TPPA. So since our Parliament has passed this, we need to closely monitor the progress. If not whatever effort we spent over the past few years just wasted.'" - Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong

“'When you are a candidate, you say all these things to secure support. But when you become president, you realise that you cannot do that too much. The genius of Trump is that he is able to locate and identify and secure support of the marginalised communities, in the US which is huge.'" - Klang MP Charles Santiago

"Dear brown/yellow people: look at your skin. Now matter how loudly you proclaim yourself as allies to people like Trump, they will never treat you as an equal. It is perfectly conceivable that Trump, after getting rid of illegal immigrants, would likely turn his attention to the legal but unwanted ones. He's pledged to get rid of Muslims; he's made disparaging remarks about Jews, despite his daughter marrying one. There is only one colour that matters to Trump and it's definitely not brown nor yellow. So to the next person of Asian descent I meet who professes support for Trump: get a mirror, buddy. Or maybe you'd be better off with a microscope to better see the internalised self-hatred you haven't be seeing all these years, which you can thank the Anglophiles for."

“'Donald Trump’s victory was unexpected by many. He has shown that what is needed by the American voters is a president who would galvanise the economy and would ready jobs that ensures returns or which are more rewarding or high-paying jobs. I think the partnership with the US would remain because he too needs the partnership with Malaysia and other countries and I believe he would use methods which can help in the co-operation with all nations.'" - Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak


“'I am confident that the trust placed in you by the American people will inspire you to promote progress, peace and prosperity in the United States of America and beyond, as you lead your great nation into the future. Our people are happy with the mutually beneficial and dynamic relations that Myanmar shares with the United States.'” - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's State Counsellor


"US elections always show there are two Americas, the cosmopolitan coasts that vote Democrat and the rural heartland that returns Republicans. This time the heartland has prevailed. It is a personal disappointment for Hillary Clinton and for all who hoped to see a woman elected President. Those hopes, like progress on trade liberalisation and much else, will have to be shelved for four years. Trump is going into the White House and possibly not even he knows what he might do."

 "Before I sat down, I thought I'd be writing how even if Trump lost, there'd be social damage from everything he's said in public. I thought the story might be about him refusing to concede, while his angry militia surrounded the White House. At lunchtime, betting markets were paying $1.16 for a Clinton win. Given those odds, how could Trump possibly prevail? That would be like Ireland beating the All Blacks. Disclosure: I was not eager for President Trump. In my opinion, a vote for Trump is an immoral act."

"'The American people have spoken and I congratulate Mr. Trump on his victory after a long campaign. [...] Our two countries share a strong relationship and I look forward to that continuing. Over the coming months we will be looking to build close ties with the incoming Trump Administration." - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key

"'This is a battle between the elitists who have gouged out middle America, who have ignored the middle class who pay the tax and do the work and all the hard working people around America who have been shut out and forgotten and neglected whilst they all went down to Washington to conspire against their interests. [...] If (politicians) don't ask what has happened in the US...then there will be no progress in New Zealand either." - Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader


“'Trump is well advised to learn the lesson of history from Obama’s failure,” the pro-North, Pyongyang-controlled Choson Ilbo, a newspaper published in Japan, said after the election, “Otherwise, the new owner of the White House will be met with the ashes of the calamity started by the previous owner.'” - Reportedly from a nin-page letter and memorandum sent to the Donald Trump administration from the North Korean government


"Putting America First contradicts his [Trump's] anti-globalisation instincts — if he really has any; what a candidate says is not always what a President does — because American companies have been among the chief beneficiaries of globalisation. But he may make it more difficult for American companies to shift operations overseas by changing the balance of incentives and costs through taxes. This is an important factor for the next phase of Asean economic integration that aims at making Southeast Asia a common production platform. But the crucial success factors for economic integration are internal to Asean. The costs of the TPP’s loss are in opportunities forgone and United States credibility since it was not yet in force. China will loom larger, but this is an existing trend, and the US and its allies will remain important economic partners."

"All of this may be about to change. Trump is likely to focus overwhelmingly on domestic issues, at the expense of America’s strategic interests abroad. Indeed, he may well back away from strategic engagement with ASEAN and its members, causing their relationships with the US to deteriorate. If he fails to show up at important regional meetings like the East Asian Summits, that deterioration will become even more pronounced. Trump’s indifferent attitude will also hurt bilateral relations. To be sure, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines may prefer a US president who does not trouble himself to criticise their governments’ human-rights abuses, corruption or constitutional shenanigans. But US relations with other countries in the region may stall, if not deteriorate, as confidence in Trump’s willingness to follow through on US commitments collapses."

“'The current situation seems like the beginning of the U.S.’s decline and a beginning of the failure of democracy.'” - Hasung Jang, Professor Finance, Korea University in Seoul

“'The U.S. is known as a country for immigrants, as the land of the free, but he wants to build a wall.'”  -Carlos Llamas, a 19-year-old college junior from the Philippines

"'A new president who has questioned decades-long alliances in Asia with [South] Korea and Japan, who has lashed out against China and who seems to have signaled to Putin's Russia that he can cut a deal with them. America's enemies, including North Korea, will be tempted to push the envelope, test how far they can go with the US.'" - Manu Bhaskaran, CEO,  Centennial Asia Advisors (Singapore)

"'In case TPP deal collapses, Vietnam still has other free trade agreements with other big economies, including Japan, [South] Korea, Chile, the European Union, the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union and AEC [Asian Economic Community]. The country will continue to focus on these agreements.'" - Pham Binh Minh, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister

“'As a Muslim I feel very uncomfortable if Trump wins. He has always been anti-Muslim and I am afraid he will discriminate against Muslims. The United States is a multicultural country and there are a lot of Muslims there, so this is very terrifying.'” - Dianita Sugiyo, 34, University Lecturer, Indonesia

“'The world is globalising and if the US, which is one of the economic powerhouses, is going to put up walls, I don't see that as good for the world economy. They can practically slow down economic growth for everybody. He is a businessman. He should know better.'” - Clarita Carlos, Professor, Political Science, University of the Philippines 

"-We should expect dramatic changes in the security environment. In any case, there should not be any wavering in the Korea-U.S. military alliance, which has been the foundation of prosperity of this country.'" - Chung Jin-suk, Floor Leader, South Korea’s Saenuri Party 

"'It will take about half a year for Mr. Trump to firm up his foreign policies. He only has a transition team of about 200 people and his first focus will be domestic policy. I don't think there will be a big change in his stance toward Japan. He has said the Japan-U.S. alliance is important. What he is talking about is details like increasing what Japan pays for U.S. troops in Japan.'" - " said Masashi Adachi, Head,  Foreign Policy Panel, Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party


  • "Populism." Alex Magno. The Philippine Star. November 15, 2016

"Parallelisms have been drawn between Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte – although limited to their equal propensity to say atrocious things. The more important similarity between these two leaders is the fact they were elevated to highest office by a mass of angry, disenfranchised voters. Duterte, after assuming the presidency, behaved in a manner typical of the other leaders elevated to high office by an angry mass of voters. His understanding of his role was far larger than what was practicable. He used his mandate as an excuse to ignore convention. He thought he could alter our foreign relations overnight or solve the drug problem in six months. He made policy on the run. Lately, however, sobriety seems to have taken its grip on Duterte. He has begun listening to the sage advice of his Cabinet. He has begun to read from prepared text rather the regale us his expletive-ridden, stream-of-consciousness banter. He backtracked on many of the things he previously said. The realities of sustainable governance soon hits home. No amount of hubris could permanently blind leaders from what is practicable – whether your name is Trump or Duterte."

"The geographically distant citizenries of Europe, the US, and the Philippines share some fundamental commonalities-–pain borne from life-sapping indebtedness, powerlessness and, increasingly, scarily precarious futures. In all these places, maintaining a decent standard of living is becoming more difficult, jobs are being lost, safety nets are torn asunder, and a sense of insecurity and distrust prevails. Most frustratingly, peoples’ grievances are falling on deaf ears. Or worse, they are dismissed as being politically incorrect by high-minded, self-righteous liberals sealed off in their echo chambersand their safe bubbles of like-minded Facebook communities. Liberals who label those who voted for Trump, for Duterte, for Brexitas immigrant-hating, sexist, racist, ignorant plebs with extremist views, do massive injustice to and insult those who cast their vote in the desperate hope for real change."

"During my trip to Japan with the president [Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines], I could see that he had a clear vision of where he wants to take relationships with other countries. So now, we have the perfect opportunity to do a “reboot” as far as our relationship with the United States is concerned and bring it to a new level, where we can have close ties but this time in a different atmosphere. Trump’s pronouncements of having countries doing their part in securing themselves surely falls right within the alley of President Rody’s thinking."

"He [Trump] thinks that the United States has not been getting what it deserves in its various trade deals with other countries. His solution is embodied in his America First Policy, which is basically known as economic protectionism. Measures will be adopted to close its economy from foreign competitors and to prevent US companies from moving their factories to developing countries where labor is evidently cheap. If this happens, the Philippines will experience no growth in industries where US companies have significant investments particularly the BPO industry." - Dennis Coronacion, Chair, UST Political Science Department

"With the election of Donald Trump, Americans will better understand the rise of Duterte in the Philippines. Much of the polarization experienced in the Philippines will be mirrored in the United States. But people-to-people relations will continue to be warm, and the American and Filipino bureaucracies will silently work together on common issues like fighting terrorism and transborder crime. Duterte will continue to rail against America because that is in his OS (operating system) and he needs a devil to curse and blame for unsolvable historic Filipino problems." -  Segundo Romero,  Professorial Lecturer, Ateneo de Manila University

"Nevertheless, Duterte said that the relationship between the Philippines and the U.S. will remain 'as is.' Duterte said that all the treaties and agreements 'will be honored.' But Duterte also reiterated his opposition to the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the U.S. and the Philippines, despite the fact that he had given the go-signal for it last Monday."

"In Manila, the saying goes that Clinton would be good for the Philippines but that Trump would be better for Duterte. In terms of policy, Trump has little to offer that would benefit the Philippines. Now that he has won, the Philippines should hope that clearer heads in Washington can steer the direction of the United States’ Asia policy into safer waters. At the end of the day, a more insular America will hurt the US and the Asian region alike."

"'I would like to congratulate Mr. Donald Trump. Long live.We are both making curses. Even with trivial matters we curse. I was supposed to stop because Trump is there. I don't want to quarrel anymore, because Trump has won.'" - Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

"'Pareho silang mahilig sa jokes na nakaka-offend sa kababaihan,' Roque also said. 'Ngayonmagtatawanan na sila sa mga jokes. Magpapagandahan pa sila ng tawanan pagdating sa ganyanPareho silang mahilig magmura, so pwede sila magmurahan na alam nila wala namang ibig-sabihin ng pagmumura na iyan. So aking predictionmagiging best friend ang dalawang itokasama pa si Pres. Putin,' he said. [Translation: They are both fond of jokes that offend women. Now, they will laugh over jokes. They will try to outdo each other in making jokes. They are both fond of swearing, so they can swear at each other knowing that their profanity means nothing. So my prediction is that these two will become best friends, including (Russian) President Vladimir Putin.]"

“'Trump acknowledged that much change is needed both in America and the world. Just as President Duterte campaigned for real change,” said Cayetano, who was the vice presidential candidate of Duterte. Both leaders recognized the need for but were often criticized for their being frank and saying things that the political and business elite thought shouldn’t be said.'" - Senator Alan Peter Cayetano

“'They [Trump and Duterte]seem to have the same policy, so, eventually, they will be in agreement.'” -  Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr, President, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. [PhilExport]  

“'The final results of the US elections need not have any adverse impact if we can just focus on pursuing mutual interests with the US and its new administration, especially in the area of doing business, while, at the same time, prioritizing our own national agenda for inclusive growth and sustainable development. Like the Philippines, the people of the US are exercising their democratic rights and are apparently voicing out some real concerns through their ballots.'” - Peter Angelo V. Perfecto, Executive Director, Makati Business Club

"IN his ignorance, Donald Trump lumped our country and us Filipinos with “Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Uzbekistan, Yemen” as terrorists. “We’re dealing with animals,” he said of us and the people of those other countries, before the US elections. Later, when he realized his mistake, Trump released a statement apologizing to Filipinos. He blamed his campaign interns for giving him wrong information that made him think ours is a Muslim country in the Middle East. This shows how little most Americans in the United States know about the Philippines and our history. They are ignorant of the fact that the USA, which is the only virtual empire in terms of military, political, and economic might in existence today, had its first lessons in being an imperial power here in the Philippines."

"'I do believe that according to what he said, or he has proposed in terms of his foreign policy, it could probably be beneficial to the Philippines economically, but that is yet to be seen in the future as his foreign policies and formulation and implementation of it could actually still be changed.'" - Dominique Gomez, college student

"'As enunciated by Trump, the Philippines is a freeloader using the security umbrella provided by the U.S. while not contributing to the alliance. If we go by that logic, the Americans would put a premium on the alliance itself, and given the independent foreign policy of President Duterte, that would loosen the alliance with the Philippines with, of course, consequences.'" - Ramon Casiple, Executive Director, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform 


"It would be very good if you could reaffirm the US commitment to Asean and make every effort to attend the two summits. It would also be greatly appreciated by this region if the Trump administration could reaffirm the US support for Asean unity and neutrality, as well as the central role it plays in the regional architecture. I join the many friends of America in Asia in saying that we would very much like to see you succeed as president. Good luck."

"'The only thing we can say for sure right now is he (Mr Trump) will put America first and he will take a very transactional approach. By that I mean, an immediate reward for an immediate action. [...] [W]e [Singapore] will deal with it the way we always deal with every new development: Pragmatically. In fact I think now the whole of East Asia is going to deal with it that way. Generally, we don’t waste time wringing our hands in despair over a new reality. You adapt and you deal with it.'" -  "'It is not the same America, which East Asia is familiar with, which is confident of its leadership of globalisation. In fact, globalisation is part of the problem because it has winners and losers and the losers felt increasingly alienated from the established order. They expressed themselves when they could through the ballot.'” -  H.E. Bilahari Kausikan, Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large

“'She [Clinton] is not a good campaigner. She spent too much time talking about her competence and experience and being anti-Trump rather than painting a picture of her vision. She ignored her Democratic base in the mid-Western states and took those states for granted.'” - Kanti Prasad Bajpai, Wilmar Professor, Asian Studies, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

"Singapore and the United States share strategic interests and an excellent, longstanding partnership. We have long supported America’s presence in the region, which has underwritten regional peace and stability for decades, and enabled the Asia-Pacific to grow and prosper. [...] On the economic front, the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement has doubled trade between our countries to reach US$64 billion over the last decade. The United States has consistently maintained a trade surplus, which now stands at almost US$20 billion. Investments by Singapore companies in the United States, combined with America’s exports to Singapore, have created some 240,000 jobs for American workers. Your extensive business experience sets you in a unique position to tap into Asia’s growth." - Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong


"South Korea enjoyed its best-ever relations with China until last year when their ties soured quickly when Seoul announced the deployment of the US Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on its soil in the wake of North Korea's nuclear and missile tests early this year. As a matter of fact, Trump's threat to pull U.S. Forces out of the South is actually his way of demanding more payment from Seoul to cover the cost of its military presence. What is more, Trump's indication of possible talks with the North's leader Kim Jong-un is a prelude to more surprises in store for the future U.S. policy towards the Korean Peninsula. In this vein, the South's decision to deploy THAAD might also be subject to reconsideration. Yet, if Seoul retracts its announcement on its own, the US will begin to question the country's value as a long-standing ally, and China may assume the South lacks its own principles and is therefore easy to control. If the changing political landscape in the U.S., rather than Seoul's change of mind, puts the decision under scrutiny, Seoul and Beijing will be able to defuse bilateral tensions."

"Admittedly, the US plays an important role in South Korean foreign policy and security, and South Korea needs a strong alliance with the US. That said, this alliance is a means to an end, and not the end itself. The US will not fix South Korea’s problems for it, nor does it place South Korea‘s interests above its own. That’s also what Trump has emphasized time and time again. Overdependence and blind faith will only hold South Korea back and further aggravate its foreign policy and security problems. Now is the time for South Korea to readjust its relationship with the US after making a rational calculation of what South Korea is able to do, what it ought to do and what it can get from the US. The first issues to think about are resolving the nuclear issue and securing peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. Trump has never offered a specific plan toward this end, and it’s unclear whether he even cares to do so. Reducing South Korea’s dependence upon the US and taking charge of the situation is no longer an option - it is a necessity."

"Although he talked about allowing a nuclear-armed South Korea and Japan amid the heat of the campaign, no American president, including Trump, would want Northeast Asia to become an arena of nuclear competition. A nuclear-armed South Korea and Japan will surely trigger Taiwan’s nuclear development and a massive reinforcement of nuclear capabilities by China and Russia.  North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Trump are both wild. As one maverick understands another, Kim will fear Trump. Seoul can take the opportunity to work out a modus vivendi with Pyongyang. If the North refuses and dares to conduct a sixth nuclear test and fire long- and mid-range ballistic missiles, the South should revise its security strategy and join the maritime coalition of the United States and Japan. It must put aside the wasteful anti-Japanese sentiment and finalize the military intelligence sharing agreement with Tokyo in order to join the advanced intelligence sharing system of the United States and Japan."

"The fury from being isolated from the fruits of prosperity was the deep and stronger-than-expected power behind Trump’s victory. Given the depth of their anger, globalization would be stalled unless the inequalities are eased to some extent. The ramifications would be big for Korea as it has benefited largely from the wave of trade liberalization and globalization. So what now? There is a lot to be done to survive in the new age. Korea must try to prevent foreign funds exiting fast as when they wreaked havoc on the economy two decades ago. Korea must take pain so that others outside do not misunderstand the Korean economy and policy. Seoul must mobilize all its connections to keep up dialogue with outgoing and incoming officials in Washington. It needs to prevent a disaster like being branded as a currency manipulator. It would have to build its reasoning on various perspectives. It should highlight that Korea incurred a deficit of more than $10 billion in services trade. It would have to argue that labeling Korea as a currency manipulator could further weaken the won. All possible resources need to chip in. But during such a critical time, the government has become dysfunctional."

The cartoon depicts newly elected President of the United States Donald Trump fashing the "V for victory" hand sign while Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton cries in the background. Sitting on a couch on the right, South Korean President Park Geun-hye says "You're not missing much, Hillary!" as she sits next to her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil, who, along with President Park, is being investigated for corruption in South Korea. 

"Trump’s election rings alarm bells on the North Korean nuclear issue. If our trust in America’s extended deterrence is shaken, we may have to rethink the ties from the beginning. We cannot rule out a possibility that Trump will attempt to resolve the issue through a military option or strike a deal with Pyongyang after bypassing Seoul. His new administration could try to change the status quo in Northeast Asia."

"In short, Trump’s election signifies an increase of uncertainty. In particular, it’s not easy to predict what effect this will have on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, where the US has made its presence known. South Korea must take active steps to prepare for these changes. The most important thing is to make a rational readjustment of the US-South Korea alliance and to find a solution to the issue of North Korean nuclear weapons. South Korea must also stop its de facto degeneration into a junior partner in the US-Japan alliance, which has been occurring since Park Geun-hye became president of the country, in early 2013."

“'From what I see historically on foreign affairs and security issues. [...] [T] here have been quite a few cases where candidates have said they would do one thing but when they carried out their actual policies, they took a difference stance. President Barack Obama said in 2008 he would scrap Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement) and President Jimmy Carter said he would withdraw U.S. troops from Korea [in the late 1970s]. There’s not much that we can predict. We can worry, and I understand why, but there is no guarantee he will do as he said.'”- J. James Kim, Research Fellow, Asan Institute for Policy Studies

“'The United States recorded a $29.3 billion won trade deficit with Korea last year and the deficit nearly doubled from $13.2 billion in 2011, which is right after the two countries signed the free trade agreement. Trump is likely to pursue protectionism and that will have negative impacts on Korean manufacturers, especially in the automotive industry.'” -  Moon Yong-kwon, Analyst, KTB Investment & Securities

"'Trump has indicated that the greatest problem facing the world is the nuclear threat and members of his national security team hold the position that favor's applying strong pressure against the North.'" - South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se

“'The Government of the Republic of Korea, upon Mr. Trump’s election, will continue to closely cooperate with the next U.S. administration for the peace and prosperity in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia region, as well as the world, through further deepening and developing the ROK-U.S. alliance.'” - Presidential Statement

"Trump is expected to seek renegotiation of the Korea trade deal if he is elected to the White House. Though he has not directly mentioned such a possibility, aides have long said the real-estate businessman wants to reevaluate, or go back to "ground-zero," on free trade agreements. The painstakingly negotiated Korea-U.S. FTA has been in effect since 2012 and has widely been considered a symbol of the economic alliance between the two countries. Attempts to revise or renegotiate the agreement could set off diplomatic tensions."

"'We're in very, very serious trouble. The decades-long alliance between the two nations is now facing a test and we should prepare to confront all possible risks. [...] It will not just be the military alliance that will be affected by Trump's victory. Possible negotiations over sharing defense costs can also hurt diplomatic relations and event public sentiment toward the U.S.'" - Park Won-gon, Professor, International Relations, Handong University

“'Aggressive trade policy to be pursued during Trump’s presidency will have a severe impact on Korea’s major exporting companies,' said Yoon Woo-jin, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade. He saw that the incoming US administration would strengthen measures to protect local manufacturing industries and call for South Korea to open its service markets at a faster pace if the bilateral trade accord would not immediately be subjected to renegotiation."

“'In order to survive … Korea needs to realize how America’s strategy is changing and make a more sophisticated decision of its own in negotiations with the U.S. military, trade and so on.'" - Shin Ming-yu, 21 year old student

“'Park Geun-hye is becoming a laughing stock around the world,” he said. “I think Americans didn’t vote for Hillary because they were afraid she is also likely to be a global object of ridicule.'” - Choi Hyungman, 78 year old retiree


"Another challenge facing Taiwan is Trump’s obvious distaste for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal. Trump never shied away from attacking free trade and globalization during his campaign, even threatening to void the TPP agreement after taking office. As a result, the White House’s acknowledgment on Friday that it is stopping the attempt to seek congressional approval for the TPP during President Barack Obama’s final months in office is not only a defeat for the Obama administration, but also a great disappointment for Taiwan, which has been trying to join the US-led TPP to help improve the nation’s overall position in regional economic integration, while decreasing its economic overdependence on China. Despite the unpromising prospects for the TPP, Taiwan needs to move on and to continue seeking a broad-based advance in the major components of its economy, as the nation has reached a point where there is no time to waste to improve its economic structure and upgrade its industrial sector, with or without the trans-Pacific deal."

“'I am concerned that Taiwan will end up as a bargaining chip, because Trump is a businessman who cares primarily about his interests. As long as [Trump] sees it as being in the interests of the US or himself, he will be willing to hold discussions on anything. Businesspeople only want to talk about the end result and Trump could be willing to use different means as long as he gets the result he wants.'” - Tsai Der-sheng, Former Director, Taiwan's National Security Bureau 

" A withdrawal from Asia as Trump has suggested would accelerate the realigning of some Asian countries with China, with the Philippines and Malaysia having started to warm to Beijing, and potentially marginalize Taiwan. Considering how ASEAN members rely on China for trade, Beijing having more say and sway in the region would undoubtedly undercut President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) 'new southbound policy.' Trump’s opposition to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership is also likely to hurt Taiwan’s prospects of joining a trade agreement that would help it bypass efforts by Beijing to hinder Taipei’s formation of economic ties with the global community. Ironically, Trump’s isolationist stance could mean he would be more willing than previous US administrations to sell arms to Taiwan, as a Taiwanese academic said before election day when asked to imagine a Trump presidency."

Taiwainese netizens create memes from popular Chinese and Taiwanese shows and novels and engage in stunts on social media upon losing bets regarding the possibility of Donald Trump's election.

“'The US’ foreign policy is not just the product of whatever the president says. While it is still unclear what the content of Trump’s foreign policy will be, we will still have a strong Republican congress, as well as the Taiwan Relations Act and the ‘six assurances,’ so the basic structure of Taiwan-US relations should not change much even if Trump has some new ideas. Trump has certainly made statements about East Asia that are different from traditional US policy, whether stating that South Korea and Japan could consider developing nuclear weapons or calling for East Asian countries to bear a greater part of the burden of defending themselves. However, while Japan and South Korea are definitely going to be nervous, there is also an increased possibility of further arms sales to Taiwan, with fewer of the restrictions that have been imposed in the past.'" - Lai I-chung, Executive Committee Member, pan-green Taiwan Thinktank

"In the message sent by Tsai to Trump through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she said Taiwan and the U.S. enjoy a strong partnership based on common values of freedom, democracy and human rights, as well as shared interests in enhancing peace, stability and economic prosperity. 'In recent years, significant progress has been made in our bilateral relations due to close and comprehensive collaboration on issues of mutual concern such as counterterrorism, security, and disease prevention and control,' she said."

Various Taiwanese newspapers weigh in on the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

"'We don't know if Donald Trump cares about Taiwan and how he will react if cross-strait tensions should arise but I have little confidence as he has to deal with domestic problems first.'" - Yen Chen-shen, Academic, International Relations, National Chengchi University

"'He [Trump] will not want to rock the boat too much but maintain stability. So he will still push for peaceful resolution to any cross-strait issues for the stability.'" - Chen Chien-jen, former Taiwanese Foreign Minister 


"As for Trump, whatever reactions we are getting mostly in Thailand so far were based on analysis focused on state-to-state relations. This leaves out people-to-people relations and the many Americans who over the years contributed to not just the betterment of U.S.-Thai relations but Thailand itself. [...] Trump or no Trump, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, leader of the military junta and concurrently Prime Minister of Thailand] or no Prayuth, the relations between the people of Thailand and the United States, which predated the oft-cited 183 years of formal diplomatic ties, itself the oldest in Asia, shall endure, and hopefully positively when we look beyond the narrow mindset of nationalism."

"Only when the US descends to that level is when we gloat at them. Only when the three branches of the US government are totally controlled by the genuinely inexperienced -- the military generals and their clique -- is when we get up to dance on their democratic grave and gloat with glee. [...] In fact, our pro-military camp shouldn't spit on the US and conflate our T with their T -- Thaksin and Trump. The president elect may be a billionaire who peddles populism, but he also appears to be a man of low tolerance, a macho type with a distaste for outsiders and immigrants, a nationalist who preaches aggressive nationalism from the podium. Trump is also, or at least appears to be, a strongman with a militaristic impulse. He also looks funny on television. Now that reminds us of someone else around here. Anyway, if we laugh at Trump it's like we're laughing at ourselves, times 10."

"'Thailand and the United States share a long history of alliance and cordial relations of 183 years. Our cooperation is multi-dimensional covering many areas of mutual interests and both sides are committed to work constructively together. Thailand will continue to work closely with the United States to further enhance Thai – U.S. partnership.'"

Additional Topics in the Asia Reacts to... Series

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's Trip to India and the Philippines
Secretary of State John Kerry's Historic Visit to Hiroshima
Donald Trump's Comments on Possible Nuclear Armament of Japan and South Korea
 Nominations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump 
 Donald Trump's First Foreign Policy Speech
 President Barack Obama's First Visit to Vietnam
President Barack Obama's Historic Visit to Hiroshima
 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Fourth Visit to the United States
 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Deployment
2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions
President Barack Obama's Final Trip to Asia 
 First Presidential Debate of the 2016 US Election
Second Presidential Debate of the 2016 US Election
 Final Presidential Debate of the 2016 US Election
President-Elect Donald Trump's Talks with Asian Leaders 
The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump
 President Donald Trump's Executive Order on the Trans-Pacific Partnership 
US Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord 
 President Donald Trump's First Visit to Asia

Back to top