2016 Presidential Campaigns on Asia

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Lead researchers: Alex Forster and Sarah Wang.  Past contributors: Anna Scott Bell, Patrick Madaj, Meghana Nerurkar, Melissa Newcomb, and Nate Schlabach. For methodology, click here.

Hillary Clinton Tim Kaine
Mike Pence Donald Trump

Asia Pacific issues have featured prominently in this presidential campaign. To see quotes sorted by topic, please follow the links below or click here.  To compare the Democratic and Republican Party platforms on key Asia issues, please click here. 

Allies/Partners in the Asia Pacific China  North Korea
Human Rights and Democracy in Asia Rebalance to Asia South China Sea After the Arbitration Ruling
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)    

 

Hillary Clinton (Democrat)


 

 Current Position: None
 Past Positions: Secretary of State (2009-2013), Senator – New York (2001- 2009), First Lady (1993-2001)
 Home State: New York
 New York and Asia Connections: click here
 New York and Japan Connections: click here
 New York and ASEAN Connections: click here
 New York and Asia News and Analysis: click here
 
Selected Experience and Asia Connections
 
  • Official Travel to Asia: 61 visits to the Asia Pacific while Secretary of State, 19 visits while First Lady
  • Oversaw the Obama administration’s “Rebalance to Asia” policy during tenure as Secretary of State 
  • As First Lady gave speech on human rights to the Fourth World Conference on women in Beijing
  • Committee Work: Former member of Senate Committee on Armed Services

 

Selected Campaign Resources on Asia

  National Security    Trade/ The TPP      Immigration from Asia               

Stances on Key Asia Issues


Allies/Partners in the Asia Pacific

Strong alliances and partnerships in the Asia Pacific are vital to the United States

China

A strong relationship with China is extremely important to the United States. However, the United States must continue to pressure China to improve its human rights record, cooperate more in regards to North Korea, and establish fairer trade practices

Human Rights and Democracy in Asia

China's record on human rights, especially women's rights need substantial improvement and that is an issue she will continue to fight for in US-China relations. The Burmese election was a watershed moment in bothMyanmar's history and its improved relations with the United States. However, progress must continue to be made to fruther improve human rights and democracy in the country.

North Korea

The United States needs to maintain strong pressure on North Korea to ensure that it understands that its fearmongering and strong-arming via nuclear tests will not help it achieve its goals.

Rebalance to Asia

The rebalance is essential as a means to assure allies and partners in the Asia Pacific that the United States is committed to the region's development and security and will not renege on that commitment regardless of what else is going on in the world. 

South China Sea After the Arbitration Ruling

Maintaining freedom of navigation and rule of law in the South China Sea is a strong US interest. Disputes should be resolved peacefully between conflicting parties. 

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Upon further review, the Trans-Pacific Partnership does not meet the "gold standards" of benefits for the average American worker and therefore needs further improvement and negotiation before it can be passed. 

For quotes on Key Asia Issues, click here

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Tim Kaine (Democrat)


 

 Current Position: Senator - Virginia (2012-present)
 Past Positions: Governor of Virginia (2006-2010),  Lieutenant Governor of Virginia (2002-  2005), Mayor of Richmond (1998-2001) 
 Home State: Missouri
 Virginia and Asia Connections: click here
 Virginia  and Japan Connections: click here
 Virginia and ASEAN Connections: click here
 Virginia and Asia News and Analysis: click here
  
 
 
Selected Experience and Asia Connections
 
  • Official Travel to Asia: Traveled to India while serving as Chairman of Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs in (October 2014) Source 
  • Committee Work: Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Member of Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism Committee, Chairman of Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs Committee

 

Selected Campaign Resources on Asia

 National Security

Stances on Key Asia Issues

Allies/Partners in the Asia Pacific

Continuing to strengthen bilateral ties with India is of utmost importance to maintaining security in the Asia Pacific and cooperating on issues of mutual importance such as climate change. 

China

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

Human Rights and Democracy in Asia

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

North Korea

North Korea's continued flouting of international rules and norms demands strong action from the United States in order to curb its threats against the United States and its allies, including stronger sanctions. Given the huge dependence that North Korea has on China, the United States should continue to pressure China to enact its own economic pressures on North Korea to curb its threatening behaviors. 

Rebalance to Asia

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

South China Sea After the Arbitration Ruling 

The arbitration ruling highlights the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as a framework for resolving disputes peacefully. As a result, it is imperative that the United States take steps to become a signatory of UNCLOS to strengthen the framework and prove its commitment to following international norms. 

Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) 

The Trans Pacific Partnership would be an improvement over the status quo and upgrade standards in labor, environmental protection, and intellectual property rights. However, giving lingering concerns surrounding how the trade deal would protect wages and national security, as well as problems with the dispute resolution mechanism, prevent him from supporting passage of the TPP at this juncture. 

For quotes on Key Asia Issues, click here

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Mike Pence (Republican)


 

  Current Position: Governor - Indiana (2012-present) 
  Past Positions: Congressional Representative - Indiana, 6th District (2002-2012) 
  Home State: Indiana 
  Indiana and Asia Connections: click here
  Indiana and Japan Connections: click here
  Indiana and ASEAN Connections: click here
  Indiana and Asia News and Analysis: click here
 
 
 
 
 
Selected Experience and Asia Connections
 
  • Official Travel to Asia: Led trade missision to Japan (2013, 2015) and China (2015)
  • Committee Work: Formerly served as the House Republican Conference Chairman and Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee 
  • Proponent of Japanese investment in Indiana 

 

Selected Campaign Resources on Asia

The candidate does not have any campaign resources on key Asia issues at this time. 

Stance on Key Asia Issues

Allies/Partners in the Asia Pacific

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

China

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

Human Rights and Democracy in Asia

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

North Korea

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

Rebalance

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

South China Sea After the Arbitration Ruling

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Despite a history of supporting free trade agreements, there is wisdom in reevaluating trade agreements to ensure that they will in fact bring benefits to the American people, particularly agreements like the TPP which involve multiple countries. For now, instead of adopting a mutli-country free trade agreement it is best for the United States to work with countries on an individual basis to promote growth for American workers and businesses. 

For quotes on  Key Asia Issues, click here

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Donald Trump (Republican)


 

 Current Position: Chairman and President – The Trump Organization (1971-  Present)
  Past Positions: None
  Home State: New York
  New York and Asia Connections: click here
  New York and Japan Connections: click here
  New York and ASEAN Connections: click here
  New York and Asia News and Analysis: click here
 
 
Selected Experience and Asia Connections
 
  • Official Travel to Asia: None
  • Owns property in the Philippines and South Korea; has ongoing projects in India

 

Selected Campaign Resources on Asia

   Trade/The TPP     Immigration from Asia   

Stances on Key Asia Issues


Allies/Partners in the Asia Pacific

 The United States is being taken advantage of by allies who do not share the burden of defense costs as much as they should. Furthermore, allies in the region should move towards maintaining more of their own security, be it in the form of an eventual US troop withdrawal from the region and/or the development of their own nuclear weapons

China

China's leaders are outmaneuvering the United States on the global stage, particularly within the global economy. In order to stop being taken advantage of, the United States should use its own economic might to check China in the form of implementing massive tariffs against Chinese goods to bring China in line with fair trade practices. The United States could further use this economic pressure to make China respond more harshly towards North Korea, which it holds considerable power over as the Hermit Kingdom's most powerful ally. 

Human Rights and Democracy in Asia

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

North Korea

China has great leverage over North Korea and they are not doing anything about North Korea in order to put the United States at a disadvantage and highlight the weakness present in the current US leadership. The United States should use its economic power to force China to take a stronger stance on North Korea. And given this power over North Korea, ultimately he would call upon China to fix the North Korean issue itselfUS allies should also step up and deal with North Korea's threats more directly rather than having the United States assume all fiscal responsibility for maintaining their security. Dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should be encouraged and as president he [Trump] would be more than happy to meet with Kim. 

Rebalance to Asia

No stance on this Asia Pacific issue. 

South China Sea After the Arbitration Ruling

 The United States should be concerned about China's military buildup in the South China Sea and such buildups should not be tolerated. 

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

 The Trans-Pacific Partnership would be detrimental to American workers and the manufacturing sector in particular, costing the United States thousands of jobs and giving up its economic leverage in favor of countries that regularly engage in unfair trade practices including currency manipulation. The United States should not pass the TPP and instead continue to focus on bilateral trade deals where it will achieve better outcomes. 

For quotes on Key Asia Issues, click here

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Methodology: Candidates included in this effort are those nominated by the two major parties to run for president and vice president. Stances and quotations that support them are limited to the period after each candidate officially declared their intention to run for president and/or vice president, unless indicated by an asterisk (*) after the date, in which case the quote derives from the time before an official declaration was made. These exceptions are being made because the quotes are deemed relevant and were issued while receiving coverage as a prospective candidate. In all cases, these additional quotes were made within the year prior to an official declaration.