Asia Reacts to Donald Trump's First Foreign Policy Speech

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On April 27, 2016, Republican front runner Donald Trump outlined his foreign policy in a speech at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, DC. 

Click on a country to jump down to its specific reactions: AustraliaChina, Hong Kong, India, JapanSouth Korea

To view additional topics in the Asia Reacts to... series, please click here


"Fully realised, Mr. Trump's Asia sounds like something in a dystopian science-fiction comic. Battered by sanctions, drivers in Tokyo are forced to abandon their Toyotas and Nissans for Fords and Chevrolets. Encouraged by warm overtures from the White House, a grinning Kim Jong-un flies to Washington for the first US-North Korea summit. As the American alliances with South Korea and Japan come under strain, both countries build their own nuclear weapons in an escalating East Asian arms race." 

"But, perhaps more like Shakespeare's Fool [from King Lear] that we would like to imagine, he [Donald Trump] also said some surprisingly honest things, claims that align not only with Trump's personal ambition to become CEO of the United States of America, but sophisticated analysis of the limits of American power." 


"Even though he voiced willingness to develop a good relationship with China, his blinkered knowledge of US-China business cooperation is worrying. Accusing China's economic presence in the US as an 'assault on American jobs,' and claiming that the US has 'economic power' over China, Trump is seriously wrong about how economies work in the present world." 

"If one therefore cuts out all the incoherence, this is what is left. Trump, or his foreign policy advisers, has targeted a section of the American people who want to carry on feeling the superpower pride in world affairs, but who don't understand what it takes to get that and who are tired of paying for it anyway." 


"It is a simplistic way to look at the complexities and diplomacy of foreign policy. [...] This sounds like isolationism, something Americans and the world do not need at a time of economic uncertainty, where working together is the most viable way to restore robust growth." 


"Like many in Washington, Delhi has sniggered at Trump all these days. India must begin to take Trump seriously and assess the sources and consequences of America's changing worldview. [...] It now needs to engage those shaping the enormously successful campaign that has turned Trump from a political joke into a serious contender for the White House." 


"I want to see the United States to be strong and come with a strong robust position, not really thinking of the United States only." - H.E. Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese Ambassador to the United States 


"[...] Trump's consistently isolationist line - insisting that the US 'can't be the policeman to the world' and dismissing the possibility of North Korea starting a war with South Korea and Japan by saying 'if they do, they do' - and the substantial support it enjoys among the US public suggest the possibility [of US forces in Korea being removed] can't be dismissed altogether." 

"For now, it remains unclear whether the threat of withdrawing US forces is meant to negotiate larger defense contributions from allies or actually represents a viable alternative. But even that threat of a USFK [United States Forces Korea] withdrawal or reduction could trigger a crisis in South Korea and leave it facing a huge defense cost burden if Trump does win the presidency." 

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
 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
Election of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States 
 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

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